Feeding ecology and diet

These aerial-feeding bats use echolocation to detect, track and assess the flying insects that they eat. The bats' echolo-

A side view of Hardwicke's lesser mouse-tailed bat (Rhinopoma hard-wickei). (Photo by © Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International. Reproduced by permission.)

cation calls consist of several harmonics, with most energy in the third. Most of the sound energy is in the ultrasonic range, with species-specific variations in the actual frequencies dominating the calls. Foraging animals do not appear to be territorial, perhaps reflecting the dispersed nature of their insect prey. Their diet includes insects ranging from flying ants and termites to beetles, bugs and moths. When insect food is not easily available, or during cold seasons, they undergo periods of torpor. During winter, fat that was accumulated in the fall, is metabolized and the bat is able to survive for several weeks without water.

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