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Biosonar behavior of mustached bats swung on a pendulum prior to cortical ablation.

  • Gaioni, S J
  • Riquimaroux, H
  • Suga, N
Published Article
Journal of neurophysiology
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1990
PMID: 2074465


1. The biosonar signal (pulse) of the mustached bat, Pteronotus parnellii parnellii, has four harmonics (H1-4), each consisting of a long constant-frequency component (CF1-4) followed by a short frequency-modulated component (FM1-4). As the bat approaches a target, it systematically modifies its pulses to optimize the extraction of information from the echoes. These behavioral responses include 1) Doppler-shift (DS) compensation in which the bat adjusts the frequency of its pulses to correct for the DS in the echoes. This maintains the echo CF2 at a frequency to which the bat's cochlea is very sharply tuned, slightly above the CF2 frequency of the bat's pulses when it is at rest (Frest, approximately 61 kHz); 2) echo intensity compensation, in which the bat lowers its pulse intensity as it approaches a large target, thus maintaining the echo intensity within a suitable range for auditory processing; and 3) and 4) duration and rate adjustments, in which the bat first increases its pulse duration to facilitate target identification, then shortens its pulse duration while increasing its pulse rate to facilitate target analysis. 2. We examined these responses, especially DS compensation, by swinging bats on a pendulum toward a large target over a distance of 3.6 m. Eight bats were given 15-30 swings per day for 6-25 days. 1) On 97% of all swings the bats showed strong DS compensation as the pendulum approached the target. They did not show DS compensation on the backswing. 2) On 40-50% of all swings, the bats clearly displayed the other responses. The bats typically increased their pulse intensity a small amount early in the pendulum swing, then decreased pulse intensity by as much as 18 dB as the target was more closely approached. They increased their pulse intensity during the backswing. 3) Pulse duration increased from approximately 20 to 23 ms early in the forward swing, decreased to approximately 18 ms as the target was more closely approached, and then increased to 20 ms by the end of the backswing. 4) The instantaneous repetition rate increased from approximately 17 pulses/s at the start of the forward swing to approximately 28 pulses/s near the target, then decreased to approximately 10 pulses/s by the end of the backswing. Pulses usually occurred in trains of 1-2 pulses, with longer trains occasionally occurring near the target. 3. The maximum DS on the pendulum was 1.34 kHz, and the maximum DS compensation was 146 +/- 98 (SD) Hz less than this value.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)


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