Optics of the eyes of echolocating bats

Roderick A. Suthers, Norman E. Wallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Refractive errors of the eyes of six species of Microchiroptera were determined by retinoscopy. Constricted and dilated entrance pupil diameters were measured in seven species. The dimensions and curvatures of the dioptric components were obtained from frozen sections of eyes of Phyllostomus hastatus, Carollia perspicillata and Myotis sodalis. The total effective power and theoretical depth of field of these eyes was estimated. Near points may lie between a few centimeters and a few meters for constricted and dilated pupils, respectively. The refractive errors and apparent lack of accommodation in Microchiropteran eyes are probably insignificant and do not of themselves imply poorly developed vision. The optical properties of these eyes are consistent with the hypothesis that vision is especially useful in detecting objects beyond the range of echolocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1168,IN5-IN6,1169-1173
JournalVision Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1970

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

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