Entropy analysis of frequency and shape change in horseshoe bat biosonar


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June 2018


Echolocating bats use ultrasonic pulses to collect information about their environments. Some of this information is encoded at the baffle structures—noseleaves (emission) and pinnae (reception)—that act as interfaces between the bats' biosonar systems and the external world. The baffle beam patterns encode the direction-dependent sensory information as a function of frequency and hence represent a view of the environment. To generate diverse views of the environment, the bats can vary beam patterns by changes to (1) the wavelengths of the pulses or (2) the baffle geometries. Here we compare the variability in sensory information encoded by just the use of frequency or baffle shape dynamics in horseshoe bats. For this, we use digital and physical prototypes of both noseleaf and pinnae. The beam patterns for all prototypes were either measured or numerically predicted. Entropy was used as a measure to compare variability as a measure of sensory information encoding capacity. It was found that new information was acquired as a result of shape dynamics. Furthermore, the overall variability available for information encoding was similar in the case of frequency or shape dynamics. Thus, shape dynamics allows the horseshoe bats to generate diverse views of the environment in the absence of broadband biosonar signals.


Entropy Analysis, Frequency, Shape Change, Horseshoe Bat Biosonar

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Physical Review E, Vol. 97 (2018-06-06).