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A Comparison of Acoustic Versus Capture Techniques for the Inventory of Bats

Michael J. O'Farrell, William L. Gannon
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1383204 24-30 First published online: 16 February 1999


To evaluate the efficacy of the Anabat II ultrasonic detector and analysis system for use as a tool for conducting inventories, we compared results of acoustic versus capture techniques in the southwestern United States. We sampled 57 locations using standard methods (mist nets and double-frame harp traps) and simultaneously with an ultrasonic detector (Anabat II). Assuming total number of species obtained by both methods equaled a complete inventory, captures accounted for 63.5% and acoustic sampling 86.9% of the combined species present. Acoustic sampling was capable of sampling bats that routinely flew outside the sampling capabilities of nets and traps. We found no statistical difference between capture and acoustic sampling with respect to species that use low-intensity echolocation. Acoustic sampling of bat communities is a powerful tool but should be used with various capture techniques to perform the most accurate inventory.

Key words
  • Chiroptera
  • bats
  • acoustic monitoring
  • Anabat
  • technique comparison
  • capture methods
  • community inventory
  • echolocation