Recovery cycle times of inferior colliculus neurons in the awake bat measured with spike counts and latencies
The recovery cycle of auditory neurons is an important neuronal property which underlies a bat's ability in analyzing returning echoes and to determine target distance (i.e., echo ranging). In the same token, duration selectivity of auditory neurons plays an important role in pulse recognition in bat echolocation. Because insectivorous bats progressively vary the pulse parameters (repetition rate, duration, and amplitude) during hunting, the recovery cycle of auditory neurons is inevitably affected by their selectivity to other co-varying echo parameters. This study examines the effect of pulse duration and amplitude on recovery cycle of neurons in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (IC) of the FM bat, Pipistrellus abramus, using biologically relevant pulse-echo (P-E) pairs with varied duration and amplitude difference. We specifically examine how duration selectivity may affect a neuron's recovery cycle. IC neurons have wide range of recovery cycle and best duration (BD) covering P-E intervals and duration occurring different phases of hunting. The recovery cycle of most IC neurons increases with P-E duration and amplitude difference. Most duration-selective IC neurons recover rapidly when stimulated with biologically relevant P-E pairs. As such, neurons with short BD recover rapidly when stimulated with P-E pairs of short duration and small P-E amplitude difference. Conversely, neurons with long BD recover rapidly when stimulated with P-E pairs of long duration and large P-E amplitude difference. These data suggest that bats may potentially utilize the response of IC neurons with different BD and recovery cycle to effectively perform echo detection, recognition of echo duration and echo ranging throughout a target approaching sequence.