Echolocation behavior of big brown bats, Eptesicus fuscus, in the field and the laboratory

J Acoust Soc Am. 2000 Nov;108(5 Pt 1):2419-29. doi: 10.1121/1.1315295.


Echolocation signals were recorded from big brown bats, Eptesicus fuscus, flying in the field and the laboratory. In open field areas the interpulse intervals (IPI) of search signals were either around 134 ms or twice that value, 270 ms. At long IPI's the signals were of long duration (14 to 18-20 ms), narrow bandwidth, and low frequency, sweeping down to a minimum frequency (Fmin) of 22-25 kHz. At short IPI's the signals were shorter (6-13 ms), of higher frequency, and broader bandwidth. In wooded areas only short (6-11 ms) relatively broadband search signals were emitted at a higher rate (avg. IPI= 122 ms) with higher Fmin (27-30 kHz). In the laboratory the IPI was even shorter (88 ms), the duration was 3-5 ms, and the Fmin 30- 35 kHz, resembling approach phase signals of field recordings. Excluding terminal phase signals, all signals from all areas showed a negative correlation between signal duration and Fmin, i.e., the shorter the signal, the higher was Fmin. This correlation was reversed in the terminal phase of insect capture sequences, where Fmin decreased with decreasing signal duration. Overall, the signals recorded in the field were longer, with longer IPI's and greater variability in bandwidth than signals recorded in the laboratory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Chiroptera / physiology
  • Echolocation / physiology*
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Sound*