We study the ecology and evolution of animal behavior. We are specifically interested in predator-prey interactions, the sensory and cognitive ecology of foraging, and the effect of eavesdroppers on the evolution of the mating signals of their prey. These studies allow us to examine how an animal’s sensory and cognitive abilities influence how it makes a living in the wild, how it exploits the behavior of other species to do so, and how the dynamics of predator-prey interactions evolve.


We are a group of behavioral biologists studying the sensory and cognitive ecology of Neotropical bats and their prey.

Featured publications

Cvecko, P, Brändel, S, Hiller, T, Bechler, J, Page, RA, Tschapka, M. 2022. New architecture of leaf-tents in American oil palms (Elaeis oleifera) used by the Pacific tent-making bat (Uroderma convexum) in Panama. Mammalia. doi: 10.1515/mammalia-2021-0058. PDF

Gessinger G, Page RA, Wilfert L, Surlykke A, Brinkløv S, Tschapka M. Phylogenetic patterns in mouth posture and echolocation emission behavior of phyllostomid bats. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2021.630481. PDF

Brändel SD, Hiller T, Halczok TK, Kerth G, Page RA, Tschapka M. 2020. Consequences of fragmentation for Neotropical bats: The importance of the matrix. Biological Conservation. 252: 108792. PDF

Featured bat lab story

Guano secrets

DNA in fringe-lipped bat poop reveals unexpected eating habits

Patricia Jones discusses the secrets that can be discovered through the DNA found in poop in their new article: Jones PL, Divoll TJ, Dixon MM, Aparicio D, Cohen G, Mueller U, Ryan MJ, Page RA. 2020. Sensory ecology of the frog-eating bat, Trachops cirrhosus, from DNA metabarcoding and behavior. Behavioral Ecology. Illustration by Bat Lab Artist-in-Residence, Amy Koehler.

Featured video

Are bats spying on their prey?

Are bats in the canopy eavesdropping on the mating signals of their prey? Amanda Savage investigates how gleaning bats find their prey at different heights in the forest, and whether they eavesdrop on katydid mating signals, not just near the forest floor, but high up into the canopy as well.

Resources for kids

Bats & frogs book

Thanks to amazing illustration and writing by artist Damond Kyllo with animation by Andrew Quitmeyer, the bat-frog book has come to life! Learn about the incredible diversity of bats, the senses they use to navigate their environments, and their ingenious strategies for finding prey.


Dr. Rachel Page

Principal investigator

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Sensory and cognitive ecology; behavioral biology of bats.

Panama mailing address

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Attn: Rachel Page
Apartado 0843 – 03092
Panamá, República de Panamá

US mailing address

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Attn: Rachel Page
9100 Panama City Place
Washington DC 20521-9100, USA