A new University of Maryland study finds that echolocating bats use a strategy to track and catch erratically moving insects that is much like the system used by some guided missiles to intercept evasive targets and different from the way humans and some animals track moving objects.
Using infrared video cameras and an array of microphones in their bat lab, the University of Maryland research team discovered that the big brown bat solves a rather complex geometrical problem to minimize the time it takes to intercept flying insects. The pursuit strategy is different from that reported in earlier studies of target pursuit in humans and other animals.
This study also demonstrates, for the first time, that bats work out ahead of time how they will catch an insect. Evolutionary pressure to catch flying insects as fast as possible, the researchers speculate, may have pushed the bat to adopt this technique to catch a meal on the go as quickly as possible. Their paper appears in the May issue of PLoS Biology.
Full article: Sciencedaily.com