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Related to Echolocating: Biosonar, Animal echolocation


determination of the position of an object by measuring the time taken for an echo to return from it and its direction
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the perception of reflected sound waves, usually high-frequency, by certain animals, which emit them to detect objects in space, such as prey or obstacles, and determine their properties and dimensions. Echolocation is one of the means by which animals orient themselves in space. It is developed in bats and dolphins and has been discovered in shrews, a number of species of seals, and birds, including oilbirds and salanganes.

In dolphins and bats, echolocation is based on the emission of ultrasonic impulses with frequencies of as high as 130–200 kilo-hertz (kHz) and duration of signals usually from 0.2 to 4–5 milliseconds, sometimes more. In birds that live in dark caves, such as oilbirds and salanganes, it is used for orientation in the dark; they emit low-frequency signals of 7–4 kHz. Dolphins and bats use echolocation not only to determine their general orientation, but also to determine the spatial position of an object and its dimensions. In a number of cases echolocation even enables them to recognize the appearance of an object and therefore often serves as an important means of searching out and capturing food.


Airapet’iants, E. Sh., and A. I. Konstantinov. Ekholokatsiia v prirode, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An animal's use of sound reflections to localize objects and to orient in the environment.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Determining the mere presence of bats echolocating is the most basic way to use a bat detector and can be done nearly everywhere in the U.S.
The sound emission pattern of the echolocating bat, Eptesicus fuscus.
She was a bright, loud, instantaneous wall of reflected clicks when Keiko was echolocating, and a dark silhouette against the white noise of the sea when he was not.
Take another look at those bizarre, alienlike folds and wrinkles on insect-eating bats' faces, and at the odd, cone-shaped growth (called a tragus) projecting from each ear on most species--they're all parts of the animals' echolocating bug detectors.
Barclay RMR and Brigham RE: Constraints on optimal foraging: a field test of prey discrimination by echolocating insectivorous bats.
The high-pitched sounds they emit when echolocating are above the range of our human hearing.
Why do we find beating hearts, or echolocating devices, or tit-for-tat patterns of behaviour, in this or that species or population?
At one point I am swimming with a mother and calf; the mother makes eye contact with me, and suddenly I feel it: the zap of the dolphin echolocating me, almost like an electric shock.