The low- and high-frequency components of a rustling sound, created when prey (freshly killed frog) was jerkily pulled on dry and wet sandy floors and asbestos, were recorded and played back to individual Indian false vampire bats (Megaderma lyra). Megaderma lyra responded with flight toward the speakers and captured dead frogs, that were kept as reward. The spectral peaks were at 8.6, 7.1 and 6.8 kHz for the low-frequency components of the sounds created at the dry, asbestos and wet floors, respectively. The spectral peaks for the high-frequency sounds created on the respective floors were at 36.8,27.2 and 23.3 kHz. The sound from the dry floor was more intense than that of from the other two substrata. Prey movements that generated sonic or ultrasonic sounds were both sufficient and necessary for the bats to detect and capture prey. The number of successful prey captures was significantly greater for the dry floor sound, especially to its high-frequency components. Bat-responses were low to the wet floor and moderate to the asbestos floor sounds. The bats did not respond to the sound of unrecorded parts of the tape. Even though the bats flew toward the speakers when the prey generated sounds were played back and captured the dead frogs we cannot rule out the possibility of M. lyra using echolocation to localize prey. However, the study indicates that prey that move on dry sandy floor are more vulnerable to predation by M. lyra.
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Vol. 4 • No. 1