Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis: Molossidae, Chiroptera) at high altitude: Links to migratory insect populations

Gary F. McCracken, Erin H. Gillam, John K. Westbrook, Ya Fu Lee, Michael L. Jensen, Ben B. Balsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Existing information on the activity of bats in the aerosphere is restricted almost exclusively to altitudes that are within a few tens of meters above the ground. We report a total of 50.2 h of ultrasonic recordings made using radio microphonic bat detectors suspended from free-floating helium balloons and from kites. The data include a total of 22 353 echolocative calls from ground-level to 1118 m above ground level (AGL). These calls are attributed to Brazilian free-tailed bats based on acoustic features and the large numbers and high-altitude aerial dispersion of these bats over the local landscape. Bat activity varied significantly throughout the air column and was greatest at 400-500 m AGL and near ground level. Feeding buzzes, indicating feeding on aerial prey, were most abundant near ground level and at 400-500 m, and were detected to altitudes of ∼ 900 m AGL. The peak activity of bats at 400-500 m AGL is concordant with the altitude of the atmospheric boundary layer and the seasonal formation of the low-elevation southerly wind jet that has been identified as a major aeroecological corridor for the nocturnal dispersal of noctuid moths and other insects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Plant Science

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