How greater mouse-eared bats deal with ambiguous echoic scenes

M. L. Melcón, Y. Yovel, A. Denzinger, H. U. Schnitzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Echolocating bats have to assign the received echoes to the correct call that generated them. Failing to do so will result in the perception of virtual targets that are positioned where there is no actual target. The assignment of echoes to the emitted calls can be ambiguous especially if the pulse intervals between calls are short and kept constant. Here, we present first evidence that greater mouse-eared bats deal with ambiguity by changing the pulse interval more often, in particular by reducing the number of calls in the terminal group before landing. This strategy separates virtual targets from real ones according to their change in position. Real targets will always remain in a constant position, and virtual targets will jitter back and forth according to the change in the time interval.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-514
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Approach
  • Echolocation
  • Greater mouse-eared bats
  • Range ambiguity
  • Temporal pattern


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