Navigation Links
What sounds good doesn't always taste good
Date:5/21/2012

Bats use a combination of cues in their hunting sequence - capture, handling and consumption - to decide which prey to attack, catch and consume and which ones they are better off leaving alone or dropping mid-way through the hunt. Eavesdropping bats first listen to their prey, then they assess its size, and finally they taste it. The work by Dr. Rachel Page and her team from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama is published online in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature.

To survive, predators must find prey that is both of the right size and edible. To accomplish this goal, predators often use multiple sensory cues to detect and assess prey. Page and colleagues' experiments show that the fringe-lipped bat, Trachops cirrhosus, which feeds on a variety of prey including frogs, uses acoustic cues from a distance first. Then the bat fine tunes its hunting strategy at close range by assessing the prey's size, likely by echolocation, and finally tastes it by using chemical cues. It sequentially re-assesses the suitability of its prey throughout the hunt.

The researchers studied eight bats on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. They investigated whether the bats update information about their prey to minimize potentially lethal errors. They used the calls of a palatable species of frog to encourage the bats to approach prey frogs. Then they offered the bats a combination of unmanipulated prey and prey with toxins that are potentially lethal if ingested: the bats' preferred prey species (the tύngara frog) and two poisonous toads (the large cane toad and the small leaf litter toad).

The calls elicited an attack response but as the bats approached, they used additional cues in a sequential manner to update their information about prey size and palatability. Both palatable and poisonous small frogs were captured, whereas large poisonous toads were approached but left alone. This suggests that the bats assessed the prey size at close range first and thus only captured those frogs and toads of appropriate size for them to handle.

Once the bats had captured their prey, they used chemical cues to make final, post-capture decisions about whether or not to consume the prey. Indeed, they dropped small, poisonous toads as well as palatable frogs coated in toad toxins either immediately or shortly after capture.

These findings suggest that echolocation and chemical cues obtained at close range supplemented information obtained from acoustic cues at long range.

The authors conclude: "Our study demonstrates that following initial assessment of prey, bats have the ability to use alternate sensory modalities to sequentially reassess prey at close range, and thus compensate for potentially deadly errors. Our results bring to light the sequential, complex nature of prey assessment foraging strategies that may allow exploratory and flexible hunting behaviors."


'/>"/>
Contact: Janine Haubenreisser
janine.haubenreisser@springer.com
49-622-148-78414
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wired for sound: A small fishs brain illustrates how people and other vertebrates produce sounds
2. Fall bonefish census sounds warning bell that warrants careful future monitoring
3. Hearing colors, seeing sounds: New research explores sensory overlap in the brain
4. Bat brains offer clues as to how we focus on some sounds and not others
5. Floridas worm grunters collect bait worms by inadvertently imitating mole sounds
6. UGA study finds theres not always safety in numbers when it comes to extinction risk
7. Impact of warming climate doesnt always translate to streamflow
8. Sustainability, college athletics dont always connect
9. Eco-labeled seafood is not always what it seems
10. The grass is always greener
11. Fat and healthy? York U study finds slim isnt always superior
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/19/2016)... 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today that it has ... have an independent technology judge determine who has the ... tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and the best customer service. ... most of what we do – which clearly is ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. , Nov. 17, 2016  AIC announces that it ... about using NVMe storage servers in organizations that require high-performance scale-out plus high speed data transfer ... ... ... Setting ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... , Nov. 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, ... developing therapeutics focused on the gut microbiome, today ... of 25,000,000 shares of its common stock and ... stock at a price to the public of ... to Synthetic Biologics from the offering, excluding the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... More than $4.3 million was raised last night ... ). The gala was held at the American Museum of ... and honored Alan Alda and P. ... medicine and the public understanding of science. Since the first ... has raised $40 million for the Laboratory,s research and education ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... LOS ANGELES , Dec. 2, 2016 ... research and development company specializing in oncology, today announced ... a noted sarcoma surgeon, industry consultant, and private healthcare ... Brien is a healthcare leader with clinical and strategic ... Kriegsman , CytRx,s Chairman and CEO. "As one of ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... value of DNA microarray comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) for HER2 genomic ... Symposium. Using molecular test results from tumors with previously documented positive, negative, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... event is expanding to three days and will take place on February 1-3, 2017 ... (GSK) and Dr James Gulley (NCI), the program provides a unique 360-degree approach, which ...
Breaking Biology Technology: