Who are the most romantic singers in the animal kingdom? Male bats
Male bats appear to be the sexy singers of the animal world: they have learned to vocalize in a specific way to attract females, but once they have their attention, they change their tune – literally. They then produce a more creative array of sounds to entertain and keep the females interested, according to new research conducted at Texas A&M University.
Mike Smotherman, associate professor of biology and one of the country’s leading authorities on bat behavior, and colleagues from Florida International University led the study on bat singing and their work is published in Animal Behaviour.
Over a three-year period, the team made recordings of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats in and around the Texas A&M campus and found that male bats are truly crooners. They produce songs aimed at attracting females to their roosts during mating season, and they must do so quickly because bats tend to fly by in a hurry.
“These bats can fly very fast, almost 30 feet per second,” explains Smotherman. “They only have about one-tenth of a second to get the females’ attention.
“We learned that they use a very specific song to grab the female’s attention as she flies by the roost. Once a bat joins their roost, the males mix up their songs, possibly to keep the females entertained long enough for mating to begin.”