Discrimination of jittered sonar echoes by the echolocating bat, Eptesicus fuscus: the shape of target images in echolocation

J Comp Physiol A. 1990 Nov;167(5):589-616. doi: 10.1007/BF00192654.


1. Behavioral experiments with jittering echoes examined acoustic images of sonar targets in the echolocating bat, Eptesicus fuscus, along the echo delay or target range axis. Echo phase, amplitude, bandwidth, and signal-to-noise ratio were manipulated to assess the underlying auditory processes for image formation. 2. Fine delay acuity is about 10 ns. Calibration and control procedures indicate that this represents temporal acuity rather than spectral discrimination. Jitter discrimination curves change in phase when the phase of one jittering echo is shifted by 180 degrees relative to the other, showing that echo phase is involved in delay estimation. At an echo detectability index of about 36 dB, fine acuity is 40 ns, which is approximately as predicted for the delay accuracy of an ideal receiver. 3. Compound performance curves for 0 degrees and 180 degrees phase conditions match the crosscorrelation function of the echoes. The locations of both 0 degrees and 180 degrees phase peaks in the performance curves shift along the time axis by an amount that matches neural amplitude-latency trading in Eptesicus, confirming a temporal basis for jitter discrimination.

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

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Echolocation / physiology*