During a laboratory study of pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus) hunting behavior, we observed an interaction wherein an adult female appeared to aid a juvenile male in learning a novel foraging task. This single observation adheres to the 3 requirements of teaching outlined by Caro and Hauser (1992). A female bat experienced with a hunting task modified her behavior in the presence of a naïve observing male, resulting in a cost of reduced food availability to the female when she was hungry, while directing the male to food resources and accelerating his learning of a foraging task. The experienced female bat altered her behavior in the presence of a naïve male by nonaggressively approaching the perched male several times before flying to a bowl of live mealworms. Within minutes, her behavior led to the initiation of the foraging task by the naïve male. In sharp contrast, 5 other bats took 4–12 nights to learn this foraging task. Audio recordings of contact calls made during the interaction show possible information transfer via acoustic signals. We hope this lone observation will stimulate research on teaching in bats.
This document was originally published by Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, Brigham Young University in Western North American Naturalist. Copyright restrictions may apply.
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