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Information transfer about roosts in female Bechstein's bats: an experimental field study.


Kerth, G; Reckardt, K (2003). Information transfer about roosts in female Bechstein's bats: an experimental field study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270(1514):511-515.

Abstract

Information transfer among group members is believed to play an important part in the evolution of coloniality in both birds and bats. Although information transfer has received much scientific interest, field studies using experiments to test the underlying hypotheses are rare. We used a field experiment to test if communally breeding female Bechstein's bats (Myotis bechsteinii) exchange information regarding novel roosts. We supplied a wild colony, comprising 17 adult females of known relatedness, with pairs of suitable and unsuitable roosts and monitored the arrival of individuals marked with transponders (PIT-tags) over 2 years. As expected with information transfer, significantly more naive females were recruited towards suitable than towards unsuitable roosts. We conclude that information transfer about roosts has two functions: (i) it generates communal knowledge of a large set of roosts; and (ii) it aids avoidance of colony fission during roost switching. Both functions seem important in Bechstein's bats, in which colonies depend on many day roosts and where colony members live together for many years.

Information transfer among group members is believed to play an important part in the evolution of coloniality in both birds and bats. Although information transfer has received much scientific interest, field studies using experiments to test the underlying hypotheses are rare. We used a field experiment to test if communally breeding female Bechstein's bats (Myotis bechsteinii) exchange information regarding novel roosts. We supplied a wild colony, comprising 17 adult females of known relatedness, with pairs of suitable and unsuitable roosts and monitored the arrival of individuals marked with transponders (PIT-tags) over 2 years. As expected with information transfer, significantly more naive females were recruited towards suitable than towards unsuitable roosts. We conclude that information transfer about roosts has two functions: (i) it generates communal knowledge of a large set of roosts; and (ii) it aids avoidance of colony fission during roost switching. Both functions seem important in Bechstein's bats, in which colonies depend on many day roosts and where colony members live together for many years.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2003
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Royal Society of London
ISSN:0962-8452
Publisher DOI:10.1098/rspb.2002.2267
PubMed ID:12641906

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