4 research outputs found

    Mechanics of the exceptional anuran ear

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    The anuran ear is frequently used for studying fundamental properties of vertebrate auditory systems. This is due to its unique anatomical features, most prominently the lack of a basilar membrane and the presence of two dedicated acoustic end organs, the basilar papilla and the amphibian papilla. Our current anatomical and functional knowledge implies that three distinct regions can be identified within these two organs. The basilar papilla functions as a single auditory filter. The low-frequency portion of the amphibian papilla is an electrically tuned, tonotopically organized auditory end organ. The high-frequency portion of the amphibian papilla is mechanically tuned and tonotopically organized, and it emits spontaneous otoacoustic emissions. This high-frequency portion of the amphibian papilla shows a remarkable, functional resemblance to the mammalian cochlea

    Evidence of auditory insensitivity to vocalisation frequencies in two frogs

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    The emergence and maintenance of animal communication systems requires the co-evolution of signal and receiver. Frogs and toads rely heavily on acoustic communication for coordinating reproduction and typically have ears tuned to the dominant frequency of their vocalizations, allowing discrimination from background noise and heterospecific calls. However, we present here evidence that two anurans, Brachycephalus ephippium and B. pitanga, are insensitive to the sound of their own calls. Both species produce advertisement calls outside their hearing sensitivity range and the inner ear is partly undeveloped, which accounts for their lack of high-frequency sensitivity. Unheard by the intended receivers, calls are not beneficial to the emitter and should be selected against because of the costs associated with signal production. We suggest that protection against predators conferred by their high toxicity might help to explain why calling has not yet disappeared, and that visual communication may have replaced auditory in these colourful, diurnal frogs

    Detailed f1, f2 Area Study of Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions in the Frog

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    Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) are weak sounds emitted from the ear when it is stimulated with two tones. They are a manifestation of the nonlinear mechanics of the inner ear. As such, they provide a noninvasive tool for the study of the inner ear mechanics involved in the transduction of sound into nerve fiber activity. Based on the DPOAE phase behavior as a function of frequency, it is currently believed that mammalian DPOAEs are the combination of two components, each generated by a different mechanism located at a different location in the cochlea. In frogs, instead of a cochlea, two separate hearing papillae are present. Of these, the basilar papilla (BP) is a relatively simple structure that essentially functions as a single auditory filter. A two-mechanism model of DPOAE generation is not expected to apply to the BP. In contrast, the other hearing organ, the amphibian papilla (AP), exhibits a tonotopic organization. In the past it has been suggested that this papilla supports a traveling wave in its tectorial membrane. Therefore, a two-mechanism model of DPOAE generation may be applicable for DPOAEs from the AP. In the present study we report on the amplitude and phase of DPOAEs in the frog ear in a detailed f1, f2 area study. The result is markedly different from that in the mammalian cochlea. It indicates that DPOAEs generated by neither papilla agree with the two-mechanism traveling wave model. This confirms our expectation for the BP and does not support the hypothesized presence of a mechanical traveling wave in the AP