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Big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) successfully navigate through clutter after exposure to intense band-limited sound.


ABSTRACT: Echolocating big brown bats fly, orient, forage, and roost in cluttered acoustic environments in which aggregate sound pressure levels can be as intense as 100 to 140?dB SPL, levels that would impair auditory perception in other terrestrial mammals. We showed previously that bats exposed to intense wide-band sound (116?dB SPL) can navigate successfully through dense acoustic clutter. Here, we extend these results by quantifying performance of bats navigating through a cluttered scene after exposure to intense band-limited sounds (bandwidths 5-25?kHz, 123?dB SPL). Behavioral performance was not significantly affected by prior sound exposure, with the exception of one bat after exposure to one sound. Even in this outlying case, performance recovered rapidly, by 10?min post-exposure. Temporal patterning of biosonar emissions during successful flights showed that bats maintained their individual strategies for navigating through the cluttered scene before and after exposures. In unsuccessful flights, interpulse intervals were skewed towards shorter values, suggesting a shift in strategy for solving the task rather than a hearing impairment. Results confirm previous findings that big brown bats are not as susceptible to noise-induced perceptual impairments as are other terrestrial mammals exposed to sounds of similar intensity and bandwidth.

SUBMITTER: Simmons AM 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6131230 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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