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Sound-evoked oscillation and paradoxical latency shift in the inferior colliculus neurons of the big fruit-eating bat, Artibeus jamaicensis


Frequency tuning, temporal response pattern and latency properties of inferior colliculus neurons were investigated in the big fruit-eating bat, Artibeus jamaicensis. Neurons having best frequencies between 48–72 kHz and between 24–32 kHz are overrepresented. The inferior colliculus neurons had either phasic (consisting in only one response cycle at all stimulus intensities) or long-lasting oscillatory responses (consisting of multiple response cycles). Seventeen percent of neurons displayed paradoxical latency shift, i.e. their response latency increased with increasing sound level. Three types of paradoxical latency shift were found: (1) stable, that does not depend on sound duration, (2) duration-dependent, that grows with increasing sound duration, and (3) progressive, whose magnitude increases with increasing sound level. The temporal properties of paradoxical latency shift neurons compare well with those of neurons having long-lasting oscillatory responses, i.e. median inter-spike intervals and paradoxical latency shift below 6 ms are overrepresented. In addition, oscillatory and paradoxical latency shift neurons behave similarly when tested with tones of different durations. Temporal properties of oscillation and PLS found in the IC of fruit-eating bats are similar to those found in the IC of insectivorous bats using downward frequency-modulated echolocation calls.

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Best frequency


Frequency modulated


Inferior colliculus


Paradoxical latency shift


Post-stimulus time histogram


Sound pressure level


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The authors thank the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany) and to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for support. The animal use in this study was authorized by the Center for the Inspection and Control of the Environment, of the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment and is in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Correspondence to Julio C. Hechavarría.

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Hechavarría, J.C., Cobo, A.T., Fernández, Y. et al. Sound-evoked oscillation and paradoxical latency shift in the inferior colliculus neurons of the big fruit-eating bat, Artibeus jamaicensis . J Comp Physiol A 197, 1159–1172 (2011).

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  • Big fruit-eating bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)
  • Inferior colliculus (IC)
  • Frequency tuning
  • Oscillation
  • Paradoxical latency shift (PLS)