Bats play important roles in ecosystems, and are thus considered bioindicators. Libraries of echolocation calls provide huge potential resources for bat species identifications, ecological studies and conservation surveys. Here, the echolocation calls of two morphologically similar bat species (Miniopterus magnater and Miniopterus fuliginosus) were recorded and described in order to characterize vocal signatures for field identification in China. Both M. magnater and M. fuliginosus emitted short frequency modulated echolocation calls with narrow bandwidths. Each call of the former species included two harmonics, with the first harmonic being the strongest, whereas calls of the latter species normally contained one harmonic. Although call durations were similar between the two species, there were significant differences in start, end and peak frequencies between M. magnater and M. fuliginous. The results showed that 92.3% of all calls recorded in China were attributed to the correct species based on spectral features of echolocation calls. We concluded that echolocation calls are valuable characters for the identification of morphologically similar bat species.
Ahlen, I. and H.J. Baagoøe. 1999. Use of ultrasound detectors for bat studies in Europe: experiences from field identification, surveys, and monitoring. Acta Chiropterol. 1: 137–150.
Arias-Aguilar, A., F. Hintze, L.M.S. Aguiar, V. Rufray, E. Bernard and M.J. Ramos Pereira. 2018. Who’s calling? Acoustic identification of Brazilian bats. Mammal. Res. 63: 231–253.
Barclay, R.M. 1999. Bats are not birds – a cautionary note on using echolocation calls to identify bats: a comment. J. Mammal. 80: 290–296.
Barratt, E.M., R. Deaville, T.M. Burland, M.W. Bruford, G. Jones, P.A. Racey and R.K. Wayne. 1997. DNA answers the call of pipistrelle bat species. Nature 387: 138–139.
Bradbuty, J.W. and S.L. Vehrencamp. 2011. Principles of animal communication. Second edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland. pp. 750.
Fenton, M.B. and G.P. Bell. 1981. Recognition of species of insectivorous bats by their echolocation calls. J. Mammal. 62: 233–243.
Field, A. 2005. Discovering statistics using SPSS. Second edition. ISM introducing statistical methods. Sage, London. pp. 816.
Fukui, D., N. Agetsuma and D.A. Hill. 2004. Acoustic identification of eight species of bat (Mammalia: Chiroptera) inhabiting forests of Southern Hokkaido, Japan: potential for conservation monitoring. Zool. Sci. 21: 947–955.
Grant, B.R. and P.R. Grant. 1996. Cultural inheritance of song and its role in the evolution of Darwin’s finches. Evolution 50: 2471–2487.
Griffin, D.R. 1958. Listening in the dark. Yale University Press, New Haven. pp. 415.
Jacobs, D.S. 1999. Intraspecific variation in wingspan and echolocation call flexibility might explain the use of different habitats by the insectivorous bat, Miniopterus schreibersii (Vespertilionidae: Miniopterinae). Acta Chiropterol. 1: 93–103.
Jiang, Z.G. 2015. China’s mammal diversity and geographic distribution. Beijing Science Press, Beijing. pp. 416.
Jones, G. 1997 Acoustic signals and speciation: the roles of natural and sexual selection in the evolution of cryptic species. Adv. Stud. Behav. 26: 317–354.
Jones, G. and K.E. Barlow. 2004. Cryptic species of echolocating bats. In: (J. Thomas, C. Moss and M. Vater, eds.) Echolocation in bats and dolphins. Chicago University Press, Chicago, IL, USA. pp. 345–349.
Jones, G. and B. Siemers. 2010. The communicative potential of bat echolocation pulses. J. Comp. Physiol. A 197: 447–457.
Lawrence, B.D. and J.A. Simmons. 1982. Measurements of atmospheric attenuation at ultrasonic frequencies and the significance for echolocation by bats. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 71: 585–590.
Li, S., K. Sun, G. Lu, A. Lin, T. Jiang, L. Jin, J.R. Hoyt and J. Feng. 2015. Mitochondrial genetic differentiation and morphological difference of Miniopterus fuliginosus and Miniopterus magnater in China and Vietnam. Ecol. Evol. 5: 1214–1223.
Macías, S., E.C. Mora and A. García. 2006. Acoustic identification of mormoopid bats: a survey during the evening exodus. J. Mammal. 87: 324–330.
Papadatou, E., R.K. Butlin and J.D. Altringham. 2008. Identification of bat species in Greece from their echolocation calls. Acta Chiropterol. 10: 127–143.
Parsons, S. and G. Jones. 2000. Acoustic identification of twelve species of echolocating bat by discriminant function analysis and artificial neural networks. J. Exp. Biol. 203: 2641–2656.
Quinn, G.P. and M.J. Keough. 2002. Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. pp. 562.
Robinson, M.F. 1996. A relationship between echolocation calls and noseleaf widths in bats of the genera Rhinolophus and Hipposideros. J. Zool. 239: 389–393.
Rodríguez-San Pedro, A. and J.A. Simonetti. 2013. Acoustic identification of four species of bats (Order Chiroptera) in central Chile. Bioacoustics 22: 165–172.
Russo, D. and G. Jones. 2002. Identification of twenty-two bat species (Mammalia: Chiroptera) from Italy by analysis of time-expanded recordings of echolocation calls. J. Zool. 258: 91–103.
Russo, D. and E. Papadatou. 2014. Acoustic identification of free-flying Schreiber’s bat Miniopterus schreibersii by social calls. Hystrix 25:119–120.
Russo, D., M. Mucedda, M. Bello, S. Biscardi, E. Pidinchedda and G. Jones. 2007. Divergent echolocation call frequencies in insular rhinolophids (Chiroptera): a case of character displacement? J. Biogeogr. 34: 2129–2138.
Russo, D., L. Ancillotto and G. Jones. 2017. Bats are still not birds in the digital era: echolocation call variation and why it matters for bat species identification. Can. J. Zool. 96: 63–78.
Rydell, J., H.T. Arita, M. Santos and J. Granados. 2002. Acoustic identification of insectivorous bats (order Chiroptera) of Yucatan, Mexico. J. Zool. 257: 27–36.
Schnitzler, H.-U. and E. Kalko. 2001. Echolocation by insect-eating bats. Bioscience 51: 557–569.
Schoeman, M.C., S.M. Goodman, B. Ramasindrazana and D. Koubínová. 2015. Species interactions during diversification and community assembly in Malagasy Miniopterus bats. Evol. Ecol. 9: 17–47.
Seddon, N., C.A. Botero, J.A. Tobias, P.O. Dunn, H.E. MacGregor, D.R. Rubenstein, J.A.C. Uy, J.T. Weir, L.A. Whittingham and R.J. Safran. 2013. Sexual selection accelerates signal evolution during speciation in birds. Proc. R. Soc. B 280: 20131065.
Shaw, K.L., C.K. Elliso, K.P. Oh and C. Wiley. 2011. Pleiotropy, “sexy” traits, and speciation. Behav. Ecol. 22: 1154–1155.
Shi, L. M., J. Feng, Y. Liu, G.X. Ye and X. Zhu. 2009. Is food resource partitioning responsible for deviation of echolocation call frequencies from allometry in Rhinolophus macrotis? Acta Theriol. 54: 371–382.
Slabbekoorn, H. 2004. Singing in the wild: the ecology of birdsong. In: (P.R. Marler and H. Slabbekoorn, eds.) Nature’s music: the science of birdsong. Academic Press, Pittsburgh. pp. 178–205.
Smith, A. and Y. Xie. 2008. A guide to the mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 544 pp.
Soisook, P., S. Bumrungsri, C. Satasook, V.D. Thong, S.S.H. Bu, D.L. Harrison and P.J.J. Bates. 2008. A taxonomic review of Rhinolophus stheno and R. malayanus (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae) from continental Southeast Asia: an evaluation of echolocation call frequency in discriminating between cryptic species. Acta Chiropterol. 10: 221–242.
Sun, C., T. Jiang, J.S. Kanwal, X. Guo, B. Luo, A. Lin, and J. Feng. 2018. Great Himalayan leaf-nosed bats modify vocalizations to communicate threat escalation during agonistic interactions. Behav. Proc. 157: 180–187.
Thoisy, B.D., A.C. Pavan, M. Delaval, A. Lavergne, T. Luglia, K. Pineau, M. Ruedi, V. Rufray and F. Catzeflis. 2014. Cryptic diversity in common mustached bats Pteronotus cf. parnellii (Mormoopidae) in French Guiana and Brazilian Amapa. Acta Chiropterol. 16: 1–13.
Thong, V.D., S.J. Puechmaille, A. Denzinger, P.J.J. Bates, C. Dietz, G. Csorba, P. Soisook, E.C. Teeling, S. Matsumura, N. Furey and H.U. Schnitzler. 2012. Systematics of the Hipposideros turpis complex and a description of a new subspecies from Vietnam. Mammal Rev. 42: 166–192.
Tian, L., B. Liang, K. Maeda, W. Metzner and S. Zhang. 2004. Molecular studies on the classification of Miniopterus schreibersii (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) inferred from mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences. Folia Zool. 53: 303–311.
Voigt, C.C. and T. Kingston. 2016. Bats in the anthropocene: conservation of bats in a changing world. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. pp. 606.
Walters, C.L., R. Freeman, A. Collen, C. Dietz, B.M. Fenton, G. Jones, M.K. Obrist, S.J. Puechmaille, T. Sattler, B.M. Siemers, S. Parsons and K.E. Jones. 2012. A continental-scale tool for acoustic identification of European bats. J. Appl. Ecol. 49: 1064–1074.
Wordley, C.F.R., E.K. Foui, D. Mudappa, M. Sankaran and J.D. Altringham. 2014. Acoustic identification of bats in the Southern Western Ghats, India. Acta Chiropterol. 16: 213–222.
Zamora-Gutierrez, V., C. Lopez-Gonzalez, M.C. MacSwiney, B.M. Fenton, G. Jones, E.K.V. Kalko, S.J. Puechmaille, V. Stathopoulos and K.E. Jones. 2016. Acoustic identification of Mexican bats based on taxonomic and ecological constraints on call design. Meth. Ecol. Evol. 7: 1082–1091.
Zhang, C., T. Jiang, G. Lu, A. Lin, K. Sun, S. Liu and J. Feng. 2018. Geographical variation in the echolocation calls of bent-winged bats, Miniopterus fuliginosus. Zoology 131: 36–44.
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 31700331, 31872680, 31670390, 31870354 and 31500307) and the Fund of the Jilin Province Science and Technology Development Project (grant no. 20180101024JC).
Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.