• Nobuo Suga
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


The order Chiroptera (bats), comprising one-fifth of mammalian species, consists of two suborders: Megachiroptera (154 species) and Microchiroptera (about 800 species). All micro-chiropterans thus far studied echolocate, but only one megachiropteran does. Morphology and ecology of bats are so diverse that echolocation behavior and orientation sounds (pulses) are quite different among different species of bats. Studies in neuroscience of echolocation have been mainly performed with three different species of microchiropterans: Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat), Pteronotus parnellii (mustached bat), and Rhinolophus ferrumequinwn (horseshoe bat). Among them, the functional organization of the auditory system is different, reflecting the unique acoustic properties of the bat’s own orientation sounds, although they share the same anatomical structures and neural mechanisms for echolocation to a great extent. The parallel hierarchical processing of biosonar information was first and best explored in Pteronotus, which emits complex orientation sounds.


Auditory Cortex Constant Frequency Target Velocity Auditory Nerve Fiber Processing Channel 
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Further reading

  1. Suga N (1984): The extent to which biosonar information is represented by the auditory cortex of the mustached bat. In: Dynamic Aspects of Neocortical Function. Edelman GM, Cowan WM, Gall WE, eds. New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp 315–373Google Scholar
  2. Busnel RG, Fish JF, eds. Animal Sonar Systems New York: Plenum (1980)Google Scholar
  3. Suga N, O’Neill WE, Kujirai K, Manabe T (1983): Specialization of “combination-sensitive” neurons for processing of complex biosonar signals in the auditory cortex of the mustached bat. J Neurophysiol 49:573–1626Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobuo Suga

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