Field identification: Using Bat Detectors to Identify Species

  • Limpers H
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Bat detectors allow aural observation and enhance visual observation of bats in flight. The adaptation of diffe species to specific prey or habitat and the functional relation between their echolocation and flight behavior to th situations is recognized as the basis for identification. At the same time, behavioral flexibility and convergence species provide a basis for confusion. Using both aural and visual cues in a comprehensive approach, identification of flying bats in their natural environment is possible. Analysis and quantification of recorded calls add to the possibilities for identification, but are of limited use without the required field observations. Repeated study of t behavior of known bats in different flight and hunting situations is needed for both the description of a bat's "vocabulary" and the observer's learning process. Knowledge about how echolocation works is needed to interpret behavioral adaptations to the habitat structure. Based on the sample of possible cues available from bats of known identity, a working hypothesis may be developed to identify bats in different situations. Feedback through other meth of identification, such as netting or tracking to roosts, is used to enhance the number of situations where identification is possible and to increase confidence in identification. Basic features or parameters of use in identification include: the bat's flight image and appearance (the size, shape, and color of the body and wings), flight style (the species' flight and hunting behavior), echolocation behavior, and social vocalizations. Information on individual species is provided to illustrate the protocol. Examples demonstrate the comprehensive approach to identification in the field.

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  • Herman J Limpers

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