Hide and seek in the rainforest: how do bats tell food from foliage?

Many bats use echolocation to find insects and other arthropods for food. They emit ultrasonic calls and listen for the returning echoes to detect and localize their snack. Scientists plunged deep into the Malaysian rainforest to investigate how bats tell food from foliage. This is an especially demanding task as in the dense vegetation of the jungle bats are bombarded by echoes from leaves, trees and vines. Embedded in this acoustic confusion there just might be a weak echo from an insect or spider.

Author: Nicola Wettmarshausen

Production: for Max Planck Society and Functional Ecology online magazine

Length: 5.35 min.

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