No cost of echolocation for bats in flight

  title={No cost of echolocation for bats in flight},
  author={John R. Speakman and Paul A. Racey},
ECHOLOCATION has evolved in relatively few animal species1. One constraint may be the high cost of producing pulses, the echoes of which can be detected over useful distances2. The energy cost of echolocation in a small (6 g) insectivorous bat, when hanging at rest, was recently measured at 0.067 Joules per pulse3, implying a mean cost for echolocation in flight of 9.5 × basal metabolic rate (range 7 to 12×). Because flight is very costly4, whether the costs of echolocation and flying are… 

The evolution of echolocation for predation

This model for the evolution of echolocation has some "cant probiems" of the lack of an advantage iurnal predators and phylogenetic constraints in both the ventilatory and tual systems of these animals, and possible solutions to these problems are possible.

Metabolic costs of bat echolocation in a non-foraging context support a role in communication

The results are consistent with the hypothesis that in addition to orientation and foraging, ultrasound calls in bats may also have function for active communication.

Echolocation at high intensity imposes metabolic costs on flying bats

It is demonstrated that above 130 dB sound pressure level (SPL, at a reference distance of 10 cm), the costs of sound production become exorbitantly expensive for small bats, placing a limitation on the intensity at which they can call.

The energy cost of flight: do small bats fly more cheaply than birds?

Either the flight cost of small birds is significantly lower than has previously been thought or, contrary to current opinion, small bats require less energy to fly than birds.

Molecular evidence regarding the origin of echolocation and flight in bats

A phylogenetic analysis of bat relationships using DNA sequence data from four nuclear genes and three mitochondrial genes indicates that microbat families in the superfamily Rhinolophoidea are more closely related to megabats than they are to other microbats, which implies that echolocation systems either evolved independently in rhinlophoids and otherMicrobat monophyly is uncorroborated by molecular data.

Flight performance, echolocation and foraging behaviour in pond bats, Myotis dasycneme (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae).

Multi-flash stereophotogrammetry was used to reconstruct the three-dimensional flight paths of bats and to correlate flight behaviour with changes in pulse emission during echolocation, finding a physiological limit on pulse duration and interpulse interval during prey capture.

Echolocation call production during aerial and terrestrial locomotion by New Zealand's enigmatic lesser short-tailed bat, Mystacina tuberculata

The results suggest that M. tuberculata do not attempt to reduce the cost of terrestrial locomotion and call production through biomechanical linkage, and suggest that the pattern of linkage seen when bats are in flight is not universal and that energetic savings cannot necessarily be explained by contraction of muscles associated with the downstroke alone.

Flight costs in volant vertebrates: A phylogenetically-controlled meta-analysis of birds and bats.

Scaling of wingbeat and echolocation pulse emission rates in bats: why are aerial insectivorous bats so small?

The scaling of wingbeat frequency and pulse repetition rate with body mass was investigated in a cross-species analysis to test the hypothesis that calling and flapping are coupled in echolocating bats.



Metabolism during flight in two species of bats, Phyllostomus hastatus and Pteropus gouldii.

  • S. Thomas
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1975
Data from flying bats together with comparable data for flying birds all fall along a straight line when plotted on double logarithmic coordinates as a function of body mass, showing that even the lowest metabolic requirements of bats and birds during level flight are about twice the highest metabolic capabilities of similar-size terrestrial mammals.


The endurance of three bats was so much greater near the middle of their speed ranges that the maximum flight distances ought to be achieved at these velocities, even though the cost of transport would be lower at higher speeds.

Flight Energetics of Free-Living Sooty Terns

Metabolic rate during flight of Sooty Terns was determined to be 4.8 times standard metabolic rate (SMR), much lower than estimates of flight metabolism predicted from previously published equations.


The endurance of both bats was so reduced at the higher airspeeds that they would not achieve maximum flight range in still air at the velocity where cost of locomotion is lowest, contrary to a common assumption, flight range would be maximized at the V mp.

The metabolic cost of flight in unrestrained birds.

Oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production were measured during flight in unrestrained starlings by a new method and did not change significantly over a range of air speeds from 8 to 18 m/s and birds would not fly at speeds outside of this range.

Power Input During Flight of the Fish Crow, Corvus Ossifragus

During horizontal flight, power input for the fish crow exceeded by about one-third that for the laughing gull, and power input varied little with air speed, but decreased with increasing angle of descent.

Respiratory and Cardiovascular Responses of the Pigeon to Sustained, Level Flight in a Wind-Tunnel

Comparisons with the free-flying birds indicated that the pattern of flight in the wind tunnel was somewhat abnormal, especially at the beginning of aFlight, and this may account for the value of V OO2 being higher at the start of a flight and then declining to a steady value as the flight progressed.

Gas exchange and energy cost of flight in the white-necked raven, Corvus cryptoleucus.

Energy expenditure during steady-state, wind tunnel flights was estimated from O2 and CO2 exchange in five white-necked ravens and power input increased significantly with air speed and flight angle above horizontal, and decreased with increasing angles below horizontal.


High performance homing pigeons work substantially harder and longer during a long distance flight when wearing harnesses and transmitters, showing that encumbered pigeons produced 85 to 100% more total CO, covering the 320-km distance.


The minute ventilation requirement of P. gouldii during level flight exceeds that predicted for a similar-sized flying bird, and is significantly lower than those reported for birds flying at comparable temperatures and flight conditions.