Isolation call ontogeny in bat pups (Glossophaga soricina)

in Behaviour
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Bat pups produce isolation calls to solicit maternal care. During maturation, pup isolation calls may gradually develop into echolocation calls or exist in parallel to them, depending on the species involved. We studied the ontogeny of isolation calls in nectivorous bats, Glossophaga soricina. Isolation calls of G. soricina pups were frequency modulated calls uttered in bouts of varying length. Newborn pups already produced both isolation calls and echolocation call precursors (which developed into ‘normal’ echolocation calls), indicating that isolation calls of G. soricina pups occur independently and exist in parallel to echolocation calls during ontogeny. We found strong statistical evidence for an individual signature encoded in isolation calls. Moreover, we provide evidence for considerable changes in isolation call parameters over a short ontogenetic time span. Throughout ontogeny, the call interval decreased significantly whereas most frequency parameters increased significantly and call entropy rose (i.e., isolation calls became less tonal but noisier).

Isolation call ontogeny in bat pups (Glossophaga soricina)

in Behaviour



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    Isolation call bouts and echolocation call precursors (at day 1) and adult-like echolocation calls (at day 15) of two G. soricina pups (one female, one male), recorded at day 1 and day 15 of age. Spectrograms (frequency over time) were generated using a 1024-point fast Fourier transform, a frame size of 100% and a Hamming window with 93.75% overlap.

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    Three isolation call bouts from three different G. soricina pups (two females, one male), illustrating the individual vocal signature encoded in acoustic parameters of isolation calls. Isolation call bouts of each pup were recorded on the same day, but not in direct succession. Spectrograms were generated using a 1024-point fast Fourier transform, a frame size of 100% and a Hamming window with 93.75% overlap.

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    Classification success for seven G. soricina pups obtained by a DFA with n1 cross-validation (random classification success: 14.3%). ID and sex of the pups are given in the figure.

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