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In this paper we propose a distributed algorithm to detect whether a given node is present or absent in an ad-hoc network. This information is valuable since many proposed protocols and applications for MANETs exhibit worst-case behavior when an intended communication partner is currently not present. Our distributed algorithm improves upon existing approaches to presence detection by significantly reducing the overhead that is required to decide whether a node is present: a reduction by 70-80% is well possible. We describe the proposed algorithm and assess its properties both analytically and through simulation.