The pipistrelle bat Pipistrellus pipistrellus intersperses wingbeats in flapping flights with brief (0.1–0.3 s) glides. This undulating intermittent flight mode probably saves energy in flight. In large flight cages, captive pipistrelles glided for approximately 13.4% of flight time, but glides were steep, and the bat accelerated during the glides. The bats sometimes glided during turns. During the glides the bat may have been unable to emit echolocation pulses and, if so, this would explain occasional wide interpulse intervals in wild pipistrelles. The steepness of the glides may be a means of improving undulating flight performance, and may also be unavoidable owing to the very small size and relatively small wings of pipistrelles.
INTERMITTENT GLIDING FLIGHT IN THE PIPISTRELLE BAT (PIPISTRELLUS PIPISTRELLUS)(CHIROPTERA: VESPERTILIONIDAE)
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ADRIAN L.R. THOMAS, GARETH JONES, JEREMY M. V. RAYNER, PATRICIA M. HUGHES; INTERMITTENT GLIDING FLIGHT IN THE PIPISTRELLE BAT (PIPISTRELLUS PIPISTRELLUS)(CHIROPTERA: VESPERTILIONIDAE). J Exp Biol 1 March 1990; 149 (1): 407–416. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.149.1.407
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