Constant-frequency and frequency-modulated components in the echolocation calls of three species of small bats (Emballonuridae, Thyropteridae, and Vespertilionidae)

Academic Article


  • The echolocation calls of Rhychonycteris naso (Emballonuridae), Thyroptera tricolor (Thyropteridae), and Myotis riparius (Vespertilionidae) were recorded at the Cano Palma Field Station in Costa Rica in February 1998 All three species produced echolocation calls at low duty cycle (signal on ~10% of the time). Whale T. tricolor produced low-intensity echolocation calls that were barely detectable when the bats were <0.5 m from the microphone, the other two species produced high-intensity calls, readily detectable at distances >5 m. Myotis riparius produced calls that swept from about 120 kHz to just over 50 kHz in about 2 ms. We found no evidence of harmonics in these calls. Rhynchonycteris naso and T. tricolor produced multiharmonic echolocation calls. In R. naso the calls included narrowband and broadband components and varied in bandwidth, sweeping from just under 100 kHz to around 75 kHz m over 5 ms. Most calls were dominated by the higher harmonic (ca 100 kHz), but some also included a lower one (ca. 50 kHz). The calls of T. tricolor were 5-10 ms long and dominated by a single frequency (ca 45 kHz), sometimes with a ca. 25 kHz component. The echolocation calls of all three species included frequency-modulated and constant frequency components. While these terms describe the components of the echolocation calls, they do not necessarily describe the bats' echolocation behaviour.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fenton MB; Rydell J; Vonhof MJ; Eklöf J; Lancaster WC
  • Start Page

  • 1891
  • End Page

  • 1900
  • Volume

  • 77
  • Issue

  • 12