The horseshoe bats’ wide, squished nose might not seem attractive, but the nose makes it possible for the bats to get around and hunt for prey. The Journal of the Royal Society Interface released a study online, which details the way the furrows on top of the primary nose lobes of the horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae) enable them to narrow acoustic wave beams and cut down disturbance coming from clutter within the surroundings. Bats take advantage of echolocation — sending out high-pitched sounds and then assessing the sound echoes returning to them — to navigate their way and eat.
Researchers in the study built real models of the head of a horseshoe bat and distinct models of the bats’ facial attributes to determine the way the furrows influenced the transmission of sound when the vocalizations are transmitted through the nose. They discovered that when the bat sends out sound using the nose, its folds lessen the main lobes’ size, thus shrinking the acoustic beam’s focus. However, narrowing the beam makes the bat to be only able to perceive a narrower field in its flight path.
Because of the focused beam, the bat’s blind spot is broadened. This greatly reduces its field of perception and makes hunting difficult as any prey that is located outside the narrow beam becomes harder to detect and track. Even if focusing the beam reduces the bat’s capacity to locate its prey, it serves to minimize interference coming from clutter around some habitats, such as a forest. These study outcomes contradict an earlier study, which discovered that the bats’ furrows widened the acoustic beam, perhaps permitting the bats to monitor their altitude. Responding to the earlier study, the authors behind the latest research reason that the modification of the frequency observed by the preceding researchers took place in the incorrect range to permit such tracking.