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Distress vocalization sequences broadcasted by bats carry redundant information.

Hechavarría, Julio C; Beetz, M Jerome; Macias, Silvio; Kössl, Manfred.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27277892
Distress vocalizations (also known as alarm or screams) are an important component of the vocal repertoire of a number of animal species, including bats, humans, monkeys and birds, among others. Although the behavioral relevance of distress vocalizations is undeniable, at present, little is known about the rules that govern vocalization production when in alarmful situations. In this article, we show that when distressed, bats of the species Carollia perspicillata produce repetitive vocalization sequences in which consecutive syllables are likely to be similar to one another regarding their physical attributes. The uttered distress syllables are broadband (12-73 kHz) with most of their energy focussing at 23 kHz. Distress syllables are short (~4 ms), their average sound pressure level is close to 70 dB SPL, and they are produced at high repetition rates (every 14 ms). We discuss that, because of their physical attributes, bat distress vocalizations could serve a dual purpose: (1) advertising threatful situations to conspecifics, and (2) informing the threatener that the bats are ready to defend themselves. We also discuss possible advantages of advertising danger/discomfort using repetitive utterances, a calling strategy that appears to be ubiquitous across the animal kingdom.
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