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Mexican free-tailed bats emit specialised signals which scramble the echolocation of competitors
Bats sabotage rivals’ senses with sound in food race
A species of bat can interfere with the sound signals of competitors to “steal” their food.

Bats were “jammed” the moment they were about to home in on their insect prey, making them miss their target.

The rival that emitted the call was then able to capture and eat the insect for itself.

This is the first time scientists have witnessed this behaviour in one species - the Mexican free-tailed bat - a team reports in Science journal.

When bats swoop in darkness to catch prey, they emit high-pitched sound waves - a process called echolocation - which speeds up as they get closer to their target. This well-known skill is vital for them to hunt for food and to navigate their environment. This new research shows that others can effectively push them off their tracks mid-hunt.

Lead author of the work, Aaron Corcoran from Wake Forest University in North Carolina, was initially studying moths when he heard these bat calls.

"One bat was trying to capture an insect using its echolocation. The second bat was making another sound that looked to me like it might be trying to jam or disrupt the echolocation of the other bat," said Dr Corcoran.

"Most of the time when another bat was making this jamming call, the bat trying to capture the moth would miss", he added. …

Reposted fromMerelyGifted MerelyGifted

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