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J Comp Physiol A. 2001 Apr;187(3):177-87.

The ontogenetic development of auditory sensitivity, vocalization and acoustic communication in the labyrinth fish Trichopsis vittata.

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Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna, Austria.


The anabantoid fish Trichopsis vittata starts vocalizing as 8-week-old juveniles. In order to determine whether juveniles are able to detect conspecific sounds, hearing sensitivities were measured in six size groups utilizing the auditory brainstem response-recording technique. Results were compared to sound pressure levels and spectra of sounds recorded during fighting. Auditory evoked potentials were present in all size groups and complete audiograms were obtained starting with 0.18 to 0.30 g juveniles. Auditory sensitivity during development primarily increased between 0.8 kHz and 3.0 kHz. The most sensitive frequency within this range shifted from 2.5 kHz to 1.5 kHz, whereas thresholds decreased by 14 dB. Sound production, on the other hand, started at 0.1 g and sound power spectra at dominant frequencies increased by 43 dB, while dominant frequencies shifted from 3 kHz to 1.5 kHz. Comparisons between audiograms and sound power spectra in similar-sized juveniles revealed no clear match between most sensitive frequencies and dominant frequencies of sounds. This also revealed that juveniles cannot detect conspecific sounds below the 0.31 to 0.65 g size class. These results indicate that auditory sensitivity develops prior to the ability to vocalize and that vocalization occurs prior to the ability to communicate acoustically.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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