Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cultural transmission in bats: When listening for dinner, bats learn from their neighbors

20.06.2006
In an exciting study that provides new understanding of how animals learn--and learn from each other--researchers have demonstrated that bats that use frog acoustic cues to find quality prey can rapidly learn these cues by observing other bats. While numerous examples are known of instances where predators can use so-called "social learning" to learn new visual and olfactory cues associated with prey, this kind of learning of an acoustic cue had not been previously described. The work is reported by Rachel A. Page and Michael J. Ryan of the University of Texas at Austin and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and appears in the June 20th issue of Current Biology.

The fringe-lipped bat, Trachops cirrhosus, uses frog calls from different species as acoustic cues to assess the palatability of its prey. Previous experiments have shown that T. cirrhosus is extremely flexible in its foraging behavior. In the new study, Page and Ryan investigated the role of social learning in bat foraging flexibility. Comparing three different learning groups, the researchers measured the rate at which bats learned new foraging information: in this case, the novel (experimental) association of the calls of a poisonous toad species with the presence of palatable prey.

The researchers tested the effectiveness of learning this experimental association through three different means: (a) a social learning group, in which a bat inexperienced with the new call-food association was allowed to observe an experienced bat; (b) a social facilitation group, in which two inexperienced bats were presented with the experimental task together; and (c) a trial-and-error group, in which a single inexperienced bat was presented with the experimental task alone.

In the social learning group, bats rapidly acquired the novel association in an average of 5.3 trials. In the social facilitation and trial-and-error groups, most bats did not approach the call of the poisonous species even after 100 trials. These results suggest that once acquired, novel prey-cue/prey-quality associations could spread rapidly through bat populations by cultural transmission.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.current-biology.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>