The Divergence of Echolocation Frequency in Horseshoe Bats: Moth Hearing, Body Size or Habitat?

Stoffberg S. ; Jacobs D.S. ; Matthee C.A. (2011)


A phylogenetic approach was used to test three hypotheses regarding the evolution of diversity in the echolocation frequencies used by horseshoe bats (family Rhinolophidae, genus Rhinolophus): 1) Allotonic Frequency Hypothesis (high frequency echolocation in the Rhinolophidae resulted from coevolution with moth hearing); 2) Allometry Hypothesis (echolocation frequency is negatively scaled with body size and evolutionary changes in echolocation frequencies are correlated with changes in body size in the Rhinolophidae); and 3) Foraging Habitat Hypothesis (evolution of echolocation frequency is associated with changes in habitat type). Both discrete and continuous character sets were used for ancestral state reconstructions and for investigating patterns of evolution between frequency and body size, and frequency and habitat type. Contrary to the prediction of the Allotonic Frequency Hypothesis, echolocation frequency in the Rhinolophidae did not increase over time, which would be expected if moth hearing and bat echolocation frequency coevolved. The number of extant species that exhibit calls within moth hearing ranges was not significantly different from the number of species that echolocate outside of moth hearing range. There was also no correlation between changes in frequency and changes in habitat type as predicted by the Foraging Habitat Hypothesis. Instead, the evolution of echolocation frequency within the Rhinolophidae was correlated with changes in body size as predicted by the Allometry Hypothesis. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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