Caught alive by an owl, the bat made a spectacular escape with the sound of a wasp
Research of the house science Danilo Russo from the University of Naples Federico II in Portici, Italy, and colleagues show that large rat-eared bats often mimic wasps to avoid being eaten by owls.
Russo claims this is the first case of Bates mimicry reported in mammals.
With Bates, harmless species will mimic more dangerous species to protect themselves from predators.
“Imagine a bat being caught but not killed by a predator”Russo said.
The disguised humming can fool a predator for a few seconds long enough for the large rat-eared bat to fly away and escape.
The researchers discovered this clever trick after observing bats during fieldwork.
“When we remove the bats from the net or handle them, they always buzz like wasps,” he said. Mr. Russo said.
After many years, the team recorded this sound and played it back to see how the owls reacted.
They found that different owls reacted in different ways, possibly due to past experiences.
But most of them move away from the source of the sound. Meanwhile, the cries of potential prey lure them closer.
Wasps have stings, according to the researchers, but there isn’t enough data to prove this is why owls avoid the humming sound.
However, there is evidence that owls often avoid poisonous insects. For example, when a wasp enters a nest or hole in a tree, birds will generally stay away from the area.
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