López-Baucells, A., Torrent, L., Rocha, R., Pavan, A.C., Bobrowiec, P.E.D. & Meyer, C.F.J. (2018) Geographical variation in the high-duty cycle echolocation of the cryptic common mustached bat Pteronotus cf. rubiginosus (Mormoopidae).Bioacoustics - The International Journal of Animal Sound And Its Recording, 27(4), 341-357. DOI:10.1080/09524622.2017.1357145 (IF2018 1,780; Q1 Zoology)
The use of bioacoustics as a tool for bat research is rapidly increasing worldwide. There is substantial evidence that environmental factors such as weather conditions or habitat structure can affect echolocation call structure in bats and thus compromise proper species identification. However, intraspecific differences in echolocation due to geographical variation are poorly understood, which poses a number of issues in terms of method standardization. We examined acoustic data for Pteronotus cf. rubiginosus from the Central Amazon and the Guiana Shield. We provide the first evidence of intraspecific geographic variation in bat echolocation in the Neotropics, with calls significantly differing in almost all standard acoustic parameters for the two lineages of this clade. We complement our bioacoustic data with molecular and morphological data for both species. Considerable overlap in trait values prevents reliable discrimination between the two sympatric Pteronotus based on morphological characters. On the other hand, significant divergence in the frequency of maximum energy suggests that bioacoustics can be used to readily separate both taxa despite extensive intraspecific variability in their echolocation across the Amazon. Given the relative lack of barriers preventing contact between bat populations from the Central Amazon and French Guiana, the documented acoustic variation needs to be further studied in geographically intermediate locations to understand the potential isolation processes that could be causing the described divergence in echolocation and to determine whether this variation is either discrete or continuous.