Bats are able to skillfully imitate the buzzing of hornets to scare away owls.


Летучие мыши

To confront their natural enemies – owls, large-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii) have to make sounds reminiscent of the buzzing of hornets, meetings with which owls prefer to avoid. This is the conclusion reached by researchers led by Professor Danilo Russo from the University of Naples Federico II. such a strange buzzing when bats get into specially placed nets. Then D. Rousseau and his colleagues suggested that animals warn their relatives about the danger in this way, although they did not exclude that this could be a deterrent signal addressed to enemies.

To test the correctness of the second version, the scientists involved 16 captured adult owls, which they “offered” to listen to a recording of the buzzing of bats, hornets and the usual sounds made by Corynorhinus townsendii.

Scientists noticed that the owls moved away from the speakers at the time of the buzzing of bats, hornets and bees, and, on the contrary, approached the speakers when they heard “normal” sounds.

According to D. Rousseau, this is the first case known to science when mammals use the so-called Batesian mimicry, in which a harmless species imitates signals that cause a sense of danger in their natural enemies.

Source – Cell Press

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