• auditory system;
  • HRP tracing;
  • echolocation;
  • medial geniculate body


Echolocating bats estimate target distance by analyzing the time delay between frequency-modulated portions of their emitted ultrasonic vocalizations and the resultant echoes. In the companion paper we investigated, in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus, the representation of the predominant second-harmonic frequency-modulated component (FM2) of the mustached bat biosonar signal (O'Neill et al.: J. Comp. Neurol. 283:000–000, '89). In the present paper we report the connections of this part of the colliculus, as determined by focal, iontophoretic injections of HRP following single-unit mapping of the FM2 representation. It was found that the major inputs to the FM2 region of the inferior colliculus come from the contralateral cochlear nucleus; ipsilaterally from the medial superior olive, periolivary nuclei, and ventral and intermediate nuclei of the lateral lemniscus; and bilaterally from the lateral superior olive and dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus. This study identifies for the first time those specific regions of brainstem nuclei providing input to the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus that process FM2 information in the mustached bat. The primary outputs of the FM2 region project to the medial and dorsal divisions of the medial geniculate body. In sharp contrast to other mammals, we found little evidence of connections to the ventral division of the medial geniculate. Other regions receiving significant inputs from the FM2 area include the deep superior colliculus ipsilaterally and the ipsilateral lateral pontine nuclei. Some fibers also terminated near the midline in the dorsal midbrain periaqueductal gray. Sparse intrinsic connections were also seen to the ipsilateral dorsoposterior division of the central nucleus and to the contralateral inferior colliculus at a location homologous to the injection site in the anterolateral division. The finding that FM2 projections to the medial geniculate heavily favor the medial and dorsal divisions is consistent with the location of “FM-FM” delay-dependent facilitation neurons found by Olsen (Processing of Biosonar Information by the Medial Geniculate Body of the Mustached Bat, Pteronotus parnellii. Dissertation, Washington Univ., St. Louis, '86) in these divisions, and with thalamocortical projection patterns in this species. These findings demonstrate that for the FM portions of the biosonar signal, a transformation from a tonotopic form of processing to a more specialized, convergent pattern of organization occurs at the level of the inferior colliculus outputs.