Echolocation is a bat's prime method of finding food and orienting itself, but it also helps the animals find and keep their mates, according to a new study. Bat calls contain detailed information an individual's identity, which helps male bats avoid rivals and helps females find their partners.
Like germophobes who avoid the mall during flu season, North America’s most common bat species is changing its social behavior as a result of disease, new research says. Little brown bats, which have been decimated by a fungus known as white-nose, are turning into loners.
Ever wonder exactly where grizzly bears live on this continent? Or where you might find Myotis lucifungus, the fuzzy, adorable little brown bat that is currently threatened with extinction because of white-nose syndrome? Now you can track them on Google Maps, thanks to a new program that aims to plot the location of every single living thing on Earth.
For animals and animal-inspired machines, launching into flight takes lots of energy. Some animals have evolved to achieve air not by accelerating and lifting off, but by jumping and then using their wings or flaps of skin to glide — like sugar gliders, for instance, or grasshoppers. Now a new Swiss robot can do this, too.
The hundreds of millions of bats in the U.S. are in serious trouble, threatened by such hazards as wind turbines and a fungal infection called white-nose syndrome, all while facing the uncertainty of a changing climate. Most bats hide in caves during the day and live in the air at night, making them notoriously difficult to study. But if scientists are going to help them, they need to be able to track them.
The only mammals that can fly are also the only mammals with a larynx that flexes at ludicrous speed, a new study shows. As bats flip and whirl toward their prey, they chirp at an accelerating rate, increasing their echolocating calls to 160-190 chirps per second. This is possible because their laryngeal muscles can contract up to 200 times per second, researchers say.
Good news for bats in Europe, if not the US: A species of bat thought to have disappeared from a British island chain 40 years ago has actually been hanging out all along, doing just fine despite habitat loss. Biologists found a pregnant female roosting in a pine tree, and say they might be able to improve the bats' living situation.
Every night in Texas, vast swarms of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from caves to dine, swarming in dense clouds and plucking huge amounts of insects out of the air. They dip, swirl and turn on a dime to chase their prey, while somehow avoiding collisions with each other. To study how they do this, bat researchers from Boston University built a quadcopter to fly with them and purposefully get in their faces.