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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Bats Use Megaphones in Jungle
15 October 2013 7:15 pm
The jungle is a noisy place, but one little animal has found a clever way to be heard. The 4-gram Spix’s disk-winged bat (Thyroptera tricolor) roosts in newly sprouted leaves of tropical plants, using their temporarily curled shape to hide from predators. Flying bats looking for a roost send out high-pitched inquiry calls, while their already-nested friends—like the one in the photo above—emit response calls to invite them in. Now, researchers in Costa Rica have found that the tube-shaped leaves may make both kinds of calls easier for other bats to hear. For a bat issuing response calls from within a roost, the leaf acts like a megaphone, amplifying its invitations by 1 to 2 decibels. The leaves also act like an ear horn; inquiry calls made by airborne bats looking for a roost were up to 10 decibels louder inside the nest than they were outside, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The researchers calculate that such an effect can boost an inquiry call’s range by up to 30 additional meters, helping bats stay together as a group throughout their near-constant house-hunting: Because the leaves quickly unfurl, the bats must find new roosting sites every day.