Duration selectivity of bat inferior collicular neurons improves with increasing pulse repetition rate

Chin J Physiol. 2006 Feb 28;49(1):46-55.


Insectivorous big brown bats, Eptesicus fuscus, progressively increase the pulse repetition rate (PRR) throughout the course of hunting. While increasing PRR conceivably facilitates bats to extract information about the targets, it also inevitably affects sensitivity of their auditory neurons to pulse parameters. The present study examined the effect of increasing PRR on duration selectivity of this bat's inferior collicular (IC) neurons by comparing their impulse-duration functions determined at different PRRs. Impulse-duration functions plotted with the number of impulses in response to single pulses against pulse duration at different PRRs were described as short-pass, band-pass, long-pass, and all-pass. Short- or long-pass neurons discharged maximally to a range of short or long pulse durations. Band-pass neurons discharged maximally to one pulse duration. These three types of IC neurons were called duration tuned neurons. All-pass neurons were not duration tuned because they did not discharge maximally to any pulse duration. Increasing PRR improved duration selectivity of IC neurons by (1) increasing the number of duration tuned neurons; (2) decreasing the critical duration concomitant with increasing slope of the impulse-duration function; and (3) decreasing the 50% duration range of the impulse-duration function. This improved duration selectivity with PRR may potentially facilitate prey capture by bats.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation*
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Echolocation / physiology*
  • Inferior Colliculi / cytology
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Periodicity