Journal of Experimental Biology has a long history of reporting research discoveries on animal echolocation, the subject of this Centenary Review. Echolocating animals emit intense sound pulses and process echoes to localize objects in dynamic soundscapes. More than 1100 species of bats and 70 species of toothed whales rely on echolocation to operate in aerial and aquatic environments, respectively. The need to mitigate acoustic clutter and ambient noise is common to both aerial and aquatic echolocating animals, resulting in convergence of many echolocation features, such as directional sound emission and hearing, and decreased pulse intervals and sound intensity during target approach. The physics of sound transmission in air and underwater constrains the production, detection and localization of sonar signals, resulting in differences in response times to initiate prey interception by aerial and aquatic echolocating animals. Anti-predator behavioral responses of prey pursued by echolocating animals affect behavioral foraging strategies in air and underwater. For example, many insect prey can detect and react to bat echolocation sounds, whereas most fish and squid are unresponsive to toothed whale signals, but can instead sense water movements generated by an approaching predator. These differences have implications for how bats and toothed whales hunt using echolocation. Here, we consider the behaviors used by echolocating mammals to (1) track and intercept moving prey equipped with predator detectors, (2) interrogate dynamic sonar scenes and (3) exploit visual and passive acoustic stimuli. Similarities and differences in animal sonar behaviors underwater and in air point to open research questions that are ripe for exploration.

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