The vocalizations of the Malagasy endemic fruit bat, Eidolon dupreanum (family Pteropodidae) were previously not documented. Individuals of this species, which make day roost sites in rock crevices or the dark zones within caves, were recorded while exiting a cave in the Parc National d'Ankarana. Individuals leaving a roost at dusk were recorded 200 m and 35 m inside the cave, as well as two sites outside the cave. Visible light in the cave dropped to 0 lux about 50 m from the entrance. While exiting, individuals flew within 50–100 cm of the ceiling, often settling and perching every 5–10 m along their flight patch and displacing in a leapfrog manner towards the cave entrance. Three distinct call types were identified: social calls 1, social calls 2 and echo clicks. Bats produce the echo clicks while flying towards the entrance, while the other two calls were emitted at roost sites and near the cave entrance. Although the results are preliminary, we suggest that the social calls 1 and 2 were employed for social communication, whilst echo clicks may have been used in a sensory context, potentially as incipient echolocation to navigate in the dark cave.
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Vol. 14 • No. 2