During hunting, insectivorous bats systematically vary the parameters of emitted pulses and analyze the returning echoes to extract prey features. As such, the duration of the pulse (P) and echo (E), the P-E gap, and the P-E amplitude difference progressively decrease throughout the preyapproach sequence. Our previous studies have shown that most inferior collicular neurons of bats discharge maximally to a best duration, and they have the sharpest echo frequency and amplitude sensitivity when stimulated with P-E pairs with duration the same as the best duration. Furthermore, their echo duration and frequency sensitivity improves with decreasing P-E duration and P-E gap. The present study shows that this is also true in the amplitude domain. Thus, all these data indicate that bats can better extract multiple parameters of expected rather than unexpected echo after pulse emission. They also support the hypothesis that a bat's inferior collicular neurons improve the response sensitivity in multiple parametric domains as the prey is approached to increase the success of hunting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas