Abstract Previous studies show that when stimulated with constant frequency–frequency modulated (CF–FM) sounds, the inferior collicular neurons of the leaf-nosed bat, Hipposideros armiger, either discharge impulses only to the CF component (single-on, SO neurons) or to both CF and FM components (double-on, DO neurons). In this study, we specifically determine the role of the FM component in shaping the number of impulses and response latency of these two types of neurons in response to CF–FM sounds. Adding the FM component to the CF sounds significantly decreases the number of impulses of both SO and DO neurons but shortens the response latency of DO neurons in response to the CF component of the CF–FM sounds. The possible neural mechanisms underlying these seemingly paradoxical observations are briefly discussed based on our preliminary intracellular recording studies. Biological relevance of these findings in relation to different phases of bat's hunting is also discussed.