- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Bats Jam Each Other’s Sonar
A bat is hunting a moth. As it flies, it makes a series of high-pitched squeaks and listens for echoes rebounding off the insect. It gets closer, and now it makes a much faster series of calls—the feeding buzz—that help it to pinpoint exactly where the moth is. It swoops in for the kill… and fumbles. At the last moment, another set of sounds comes out of nowhere, confusing it and sending it off course.
It has just been jammed by another bat.
Bats live in a world of acoustic warfare. Their sonar, or echolocation, allows them to hunt in total darkness, but it also makes them vulnerable. In 2009, Aaron Corcoran and William Conner from Wake Forest University showed