Vol. 54, 2015
Differences in the male mating calls of co-occurring epauletted fruit bat species (Chiroptera, Pteropodidae, Epomophorus wahlbergi and Epomophorus crypturus) in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Rick A Adams* and Emily R Snode
School of Biological Sciences, Ross Hall, University of Northern Colorado, 501 20 Street, Greeley, CO 80639, USA
Background: Almost nothing is known about the mating ecology and behavior of epauletted fruit bats (Epomophorus spp) of which eight species occur worldwide. Two species of epauletted fruits bats (Epomophorus wahlbergi and Epomophorus crypturus)
overlap in their distributional ranges in Kruger National Park (KNP),
South Africa. Morphologically, these two species are nearly identical
to the human eye and field recognition is based upon the number and
position of palatal rugae of captured individuals. In addition, the
males of both species perform mating rituals during overlapping
breeding seasons that appear quite similar and involve wing flapping
and monotone vocalizations from calling stations in proximity to
fruiting sycamore fig trees where females congregate to feed. The
overlap in breeding seasons as well as physical and behavioral
characteristics between these two species brings into question how
species recognition occurs, and no research is available to understand
how males are identified by the females of each species for mating
purposes. We recorded vocalizations from calling males in local areas
of KNP known to support both species and compared the sonograms to
determine if the call structure of mating vocalizations between males
of each species differs.
recorded 25 mating vocalizations from seven male epauletted fruit bats
near the Shingwedzi Research Camp and 31 mating vocalizations from nine
individuals along the Sabie River near Skukuza. Analysis of calls
showed significant distinctiveness of male mating vocalizations between
the two species in terms of mean fundamental frequency, mean high
frequency, mean low frequency, mean bandwidth, and mean call slope at
the two sites.
hypothesize that differences in male mating vocalizations recorded at
each of our study sites represent call structure differences that
potentially may be used to avoid cross-mating between species.
Key words: Epauletted fruit bats; Mating calls; Mating behavior; Kruger National Park; South Africa.
*Correspondence: E-mail: email@example.com