Acoustic identification of Otomops wroughtoni and other free-tailed bat species (Chiroptera: Molossidae) from India.
The Wroughton's free-tailed bat Otomops wroughtoni (Chiroptera: Molossidae) is a globally rare and data-deficient species. This species has been recorded only from four locations, in India and Cambodia, with the type locality in the Barapede caves, India. In this paper, we present an analysis of echolocation and social calls of O. wroughtoni from the Barapede caves. Echolocation calls of free-flying O. wroughtoni were narrowband and shallow frequency-modulated (shallow-FM), with peak frequency ranging between 14–17 kHz. Social call sequences of roosting O. wroughtoni showed five distinct signatures. Multivariate analyses of echolocation calls of O. wroughtoni and the other three molossid species found in India (Tadarida teniotis, T. aegyptiaca, Chaerephon plicatus), showed strong support for acoustic differentiation of these species. Our study will help identify probable occurrence of O. wroughtoni and the other species in unsurveyed areas through field acoustic surveys. It also proposes hypotheses about the ecology and foraging behaviour of O. wroughtoni that could be tested through further studies.