Isolation call ontogeny in bat pups (Glossophaga soricina)

In: Behaviour
Sina Engler aCluster of Excellence “Hearing4all” and Research Centre Neurosensory Science, Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Strasse 9–11, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany

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Andreas Rose bInstitute for Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics, University of Ulm, Albert-Einstein Allee 11, D-89069 Ulm, Germany

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Mirjam Knörnschild cAnimal Behavior Lab, Free University Berlin, Takustrasse 6, 14195 Berlin, Germany
dSmithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Building 401 Tupper, Luis Clement Avenue, Balboa Ancon, Panama, Republic of Panama

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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).

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