Male Carollia perspicillata bats call more than females in a distressful context

R Soc Open Sci. 2021 May 12;8(5):202336. doi: 10.1098/rsos.202336.


Distress calls are a vocalization type widespread across the animal kingdom, emitted when the animals are under duress, e.g. when captured by a predator. Here, we report on an observation we came across serendipitously while recording distress calls from the bat species Carollia perspicillata, i.e. the existence of sex difference in the distress calling behaviour of this species. We show that in C. perspicillata bats, males are more likely to produce distress vocalizations than females when hand-held. Male bats call more, their calls are louder, harsher (faster amplitude modulated) and cover lower carrier frequencies than female vocalizations. We discuss our results within a framework of potential hormonal, neurobiological and behavioural differences that could explain our findings, and open multiple paths to continue the study of sex-related differences in vocal behaviour in bats.

Keywords: bats; communication; distress calls; sex differences; vocalizations.

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5415946