When It Comes to Echolocation, Some Bats Just Wing It
Fruit bats are the first animals found to bounce the sound of their own wings off objects in a rudimentary kind of echolocation.
In a first in the animal world, three kinds of fruit bat have been found to use sonar clicks made by their flapping wings to find their way in the dark.
Not only is this the first time that wing clicks have been shown to be used for echolocation, but it's also the first evidence of an animal using anything other than its vocal organs for this task, researchers report Thursday in the journal Current Biology. The discovery also leads scientists to think that some other bats might be doing the same thing. (See "6 Bat Myths Busted: Are They Really Blind?")
"This is a major discovery in echolocation research," said Marc Holderied, a sensory ecologist at the U.K.'s