Quirks & Quarks

Bats Jam Others' Echolocation

Bats competing for food jam each other's sonar....
Bats competing for food jam each other's sonar.

We know that bats use echolocation to find and identify food - such as moths - in their environment. They emit a call and listen for the echo that comes back from their prey. The frequency of this call increases as they zero in on their prey. But recent recordings of bats echolocating in the southern United States captured an additional sound that coincided with that increase in frequency. It mystified the researchers, including Dr. William E. Conner, an Animal Behaviourist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Now, a new study has identified that sound as a secondary bat jamming the echolocation of the first bat. This enables the secondary bat to confuse the echolocation of the first bat, then move in and steal its prey.

Related Links


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.