The courting mechanism of bat
It has been discovered that bat, also known as Chiroptera, is trying every possible way to find a partner to mate even when they are in the process of finding nourishment. “A new study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reveals that bat echolocation calls, primarily used for orientation and foraging, also contain information about sex, which helps the flying mammals to acquire and keep mates” (Viegas, 2012). In the study of greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata, it actually shows that this can help the harem males to differentiate whether the calling bat is a female or a male rival. The echolocation sent by the rival male gives a signal to the harem male to put up a defence.
Other than using echolocation for foraging and disseminating information about sex, bat also uses echolocation to send out information such as species identity, age, sex, clan affiliation and other more specific information about the individual. In general, female greater sac-winged bat will give out echolocation call which is higher in pitch and shorter. When a male bat detects such a signal, it would mean an opportunity for a courtship. In contrast to the echolocation of the female, male echolocation is lower in pitch and longer. Male greater sac-winged bats who hear such an echolocation will give out a fierce rant.
To attract the female for courtship, the male bat will flutter around the female and fan her with its pair of wings robustly (Voigt, 2002).The fanning actually gives out a scent of urine and its body’s secretion. In general, female bat seek males which are physically fit or genetically compatible as mate.
i) J. Viegas, 2012 Bats Think About Sex – A Lot
Retrieved from: http://news.discovery.com/animals/zoo-animals/bats-think-about-sex-121002.htm (Accessed on 10/04/2012)
ii) Christian C. Voigt, 2002. Animal behaviour Volume 63, Issue 5, May 2002, Pages 907-913 Individual variation in perfume blending in male greater sac-winged bats
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347201919840 (Accessed on 10/04/2012)