Basic Services|Bats

Background

The Egyptian fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus, is a large bat species weighing ~150-180 gr, that is very common throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a species widespread throughout Israel, and its international conservation status is “least concern”. The Rousettus bats are relatively easy to breed in captivity, although reproduction is quite lengthy. Gestation lasts around 120 days, and maturity is reached around the age of one year.
Bats are mammals with unique properties – excellent vision, sonar, 3D flight abilities, and outstanding spatial-memory and navigation capacities – along with properties that are common to many other mammals, such as a complex social structure and a well-developed brain. In research pioneered at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rousettus bats are emerging as a unique model for studying general questions in neuroscience that are difficult to address when using rodents – in particular question relating to the neural basis of behaviour, such as 3D representation of space and neural codes for large spatial scales.

The Bats facility

The bat unit is located in the Lorry I Lokey Preclinical Research Facility (MAMTAK).
The bat’s breeding colony is housed in a large flight room that can house up to one hundred bats. Ventilation, temperature and humidity are rigorously regulated. Large viewing windows allow staff and visitors to observe the colony. The unit also includes a smaller quarantine room where wild-caught bats are kept for one month, while they undergo observation and antiparasitary treatment; and a treatment room where the food is prepared daily and where veterinary examinations of the colony are conducted.

The team: Shaul YadaiyEyal Bashari 

Attending veterinarian: Avishag Tuval

Publications

  • Eliav T, Geva-Sagiv M, Yartsev MM, Finkelstein A, Rubin A, Las L, Ulanovsky N.
    Nonoscillatory Phase Coding and Synchronization in the Bat Hippocampal Formation.
    Cell. 2018 Nov 1;175(4):1119-1130.e15. PMID: 30318145 
  • Omer DB, Maimon SR, Las L, Ulanovsky N.
    Social place-cells in the bat hippocampus.
    Science. 2018 Jan 12;359(6372):218-224. PMID: 29326274
  • Sarel A, Finkelstein A, Las L, Ulanovsky N.
    Vectorial representation of spatial goals in the hippocampus of bats.
    Science. 2017 Jan 13;355(6321):176-180. PMID: 28082589
  • Geva-Sagiv M, Romani S, Las L, Ulanovsky N.
    Hippocampal global remapping for different sensory modalities in flying bats.
    Nat Neurosci. 2016 Jul;19(7):952-8. PMID: 27239936
  • ​​​​​​​Finkelstein A, Las L, Ulanovsky N.
    3-D Maps and Compasses in the Brain.
    Annu Rev Neurosci. 2016 Jul 8;39:171-96. PMID: 27442069 
  • Geva-Sagiv M, Las L, Yovel Y, Ulanovsky N.
    Spatial cognition in bats and rats: from sensory acquisition to multiscale maps and navigation.
    Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015 Feb;16(2):94-108. PMID: 25601780
  • Finkelstein A, Derdikman D, Rubin A, Foerster JN, Las L, Ulanovsky N.
    Three-dimensional head-direction coding in the bat brain.
    Nature. 2015 Jan 8;517(7533):159-64. PMID: 25470055
  • Las L & Ulanovsky N,
    Hippocampal neurophysiology across species. 
    In D. Derdikman and J. J. Knierim (eds).
    Space, time and memory in the hippocampal formation. pp. 431-461, Springer: Vienna 2014.  
  • Rubin A, Yartsev MM, Ulanovsky N.
    Encoding of head direction by hippocampal place cells in bats.
    J Neurosci. 2014 Jan 15;34(3):1067-80. PMID: 24431464
  • Yartsev MM, Ulanovsky N.
    Representation of three-dimensional space in the hippocampus of flying bats.
    Science. 2013 Apr 19;340(6130):367-72. PMID: 23599496
  • Yartsev MM, Witter MP, Ulanovsky N.
    Grid cells without theta oscillations in the entorhinal cortex of bats.
    Nature. 2011 Nov 2;479(7371):103-7. PMID: 22051680
  • Tsoar A, Nathan R, Bartan Y, Vyssotski A, Dell'Omo G, Ulanovsky N.
    Large-scale navigational map in a mammal.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 13;108(37):E718-24. PMID: 21844350
  • Yovel Y, Falk B, Moss CF, Ulanovsky N.
    Active control of acoustic field-of-view in a biosonar system.
    PLoS Biol. 2011 Sep;9(9):e1001150. PMID: 21931535
  • Ulanovsky N.
    Neuroscience: how is three-dimensional space encoded in the brain?
    Curr Biol. 2011 Nov 8;21(21):R886-8. PMID: 22075427
  • Ulanovsky N, Moss CF.
    Dynamics of hippocampal spatial representation in echolocating bats.
    Hippocampus. 2011 Feb;21(2):150-61. PMID: 20014379
  • Yovel Y, Geva-Sagiv M, Ulanovsky N.
    Click-based echolocation in bats: not so primitive after all.
    J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2011 May;197(5):515-30. PMID: 21465138
  • Yovel Y1, Falk B, Moss CF, Ulanovsky N.
    Optimal localization by pointing off axis.
    Science. 2010 Feb 5;327(5966):701-4. PMID: 20133574