The Geater Sac-Winged Bat

cropped-sacco.jpgMale greater sac-winged bats use a variety of social behaviours for social communication, in which scents play a dominant role. Such behaviours include the active aerial distribution of odours as well as the deposition of odoriferous substances on substrate. Males possess a specific wing pouch in their front wing membran in which they actively mix different substances. Males spent almost an hour every day to clean and refill their wing pouches and distribute the content towards their females or neighbouring males. During my PhD I investigated the structure and function of male wing sac odours, which are shaped by sexual selection. The wing sac odour of males represents a multidimensional signal, which encodes information about age, colony, species and individual identity, just to mention a few.

In the most recent paper we were able to reproduce our former findings that age is encoded in the wing sac odour profiles of males. Moreover we found that the chemical distance correlates with geographic distance, i.e. males from colonies that are closer together have a more similar chemical fingerprint (Schneeberger et al. 2016).

related publications

Schneeberger K, Voigt CC, Müller C, Caspers BA (accepted) Multidimensionality of chemical information in male greater sac-winged bats (Saccopteryx bilineata). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Caspers, B.A., Schroeder, F., Franke, S., & Voigt, C.C. (2011): The scent of adolescence: The maturation of the olfactory phenotype in a free ranging mammal. PLoS One 6:6

Caspers, B.A & Voigt, C.C. (2009): Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Male Scent Marks in the Polygynous Greater Sac-Winged Bat. Ethology 115:713-720

Caspers, B.A, Schroeder, F.C., Franke, S., Streich, J.W., & Voigt, C.C. (2009): Odour based species recognition in two sympatric species of sac-winged bats (S. bilineata, S. leptura): Combining chemical analysis and odour preference tests. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. . 63: 741-749


Caspers. B., Wibbelt, G., & Voigt, C.C. (2009): Histological examinations of facial glands in the greater sac-winged bat Saccopteryx bilineata (Chiroptera, Emballonuridae), and its potential use in territory marking. Zoomorphology 128:37-43

Voigt, C.C., Behr, O., Caspers, B., Helversen von, O., Knörnschild, M., Mayer, F., & Nagy, M. (2008) Songs, Scents, and Senses: Sexual Selection in the greater sac-winged bat, Saccopteryx bilineata. J. Mammal. 98:1401-1410

Caspers, B., Franke, S., & Voigt, C.C. (2008): The wing-sac odour of male greater sac-winged bats Saccopteryx bilineata (Emballonuridae) as a composite signal. Pp. 151-160 In Chemical Signals of Vertebrates XI. (J. Hurst, R.J. Beynon, S.C. Roberts, and T.D. Wyatt eds.). Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany

Hoffmann, F.F., Hejduk, J., Caspers, B., Siemers, B. & Voigt C.C. (2007) In the mating system of the bat Saccopteryx bilineata (Chiroptera; Emballonuridae) bioacoustic constraints impede male eavesdropping on female echolocation calls for their surveillance. Can. J. Zool. 85:863-872

Voigt, C.C., Caspers, B. & Speck, S. (2005): Bats, Bacteria and Bat Smell: Sex-Specific Diversity of Microbes in a Sexually Selected Scent Organ. J. Mammal. 86:745-749