ANIMAL COMMUNICATION

Bat calls shaped by sexual selection

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Science  22 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6199, pp. 887-888
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6199.887-h

Frequency matters in bat calls

PHOTO: © FRANZ CHRISTOPH ROBILLER/IMAGEBROKER/CORBIS

Animals use a variety of signals to communicate, especially during mating. Bats, however, face an unusual problem. Using visual signals is challenging because they are nocturnal; and because they use calls to locate food, food demands constrain how these calls can evolve. Peuchmaille et al. now report that sexual selection shapes the calls of Meheley's horseshoe bats. They found that the frequency of males' calls indicated their size and that females preferred the higher-frequency calls emitted by larger males. Furthermore, these larger males sired more offspring. Higherfrequency calls may make these bats less efficient at tracking food, which suggests that the calls evolved in response to countervailing constraints.

PLOS One 10.1371/journal.pone.0103452 (2014).

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