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Hear Res. 1998 May;119(1-2):37-48.

Passive sound-localization ability of the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus).

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Department of Psychology, University of Toledo, OH 43606, USA.


The passive sound-localization ability (i.e. minimum audible angle) of the big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus, was determined using a conditioned avoidance procedure in which the animals were trained to discriminate left sounds from right sounds. The mean threshold of three bats for a 100-ms broadband noise burst was 14 degrees, a value that is about average for mammals. A similar threshold of 15 degrees was obtained for one animal when it was retested with one of its own recorded echolocation calls as the stimulus. The two bats tested on pure-tone localization were able to localize high-frequency, but not low-frequency tones, even when a low-frequency tone was amplitude modulated, a result indicating that these bats are not able to use binaural time-difference cues for localization. Finally, given the width of the bat's field of best vision, as determined by a count of its ganglion-cell density, its sound-localization acuity is consistent with the hypothesis that the role of passive sound localization is to direct the eyes to the source of a sound.

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