Science magazine and the BBC independently featured the work of Aaron Corcoran and Bill Conner. The Science article is titled: “Holy blocked bat signal! Bats jam each other’s calls”. This article focuses on the research of Corcoran and Conner done in the southwestern United States on bat colonies and studies of bat calls. The BBC also pubished an article titled “Bats sabotage rivals’ senses with sound in food race”.
Pull quote from Science:
Aaron Corcoran, a biologist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, first detected the jamming call while recording bat-moth interactions in Arizona. Other researchers had previously discovered that Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) make at least 15 types of social calls and even adjust their ultrasonic vocalizations to avoid interfering with those of others. To find out how the bats were using this call, the scientists recorded their competitive bouts on video and with an array of ultrasonic microphones at field sites in Arizona and New Mexico. They matched up the calls to the bats’ flight paths so that they could see at what point hunters made the feeding buzz and competitors emitted a blocking signal. From this 3D reconstruction, Corcoran and William Conner, a biologist also at Wake Forest University, realized that the bats were more competitive than cooperative, and readily wielded their highly effective and disruptive jamming call. “They use it at the moment of truth, when the hunter is zeroing in on its prey,” Conner says.
To read the online article and video, visit Sciencemag.org and BBC