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J Comp Physiol A. 2001 Sep;187(7):499-507.

Laser vibrometric studies of sound-induced motion of the body walls and lungs of salamanders and lizards: implications for lung-based hearing.

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Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1293, USA.


A laser Doppler vibrometer was used to measure the acoustic responses of different body surfaces of several species of salamanders and lizards. The lateral body wall over the lung displayed sound-induced motion up to 30 dB greater than the lateral head surface from 300-1,000 Hz in salamanders and from 200-2,500 Hz in lizards. The lateral body wall of lungless plethodontid salamanders showed no such enhanced motion to sound. The lateral body wall of lizards was more responsive than their tympanum to sound frequencies below about 1,250-2,000 Hz. The frequency of the peak response of lizard body walls matched the resonant frequency of a Helmholtz resonator with the volume and dimensions of their lungs. In contrast, the frequency of peak response of salamander body walls was well below the resonant frequencies calculated for both Helmholtz resonators and closed tubes with the dimensions and volumes of their lungs. Nonetheless, filling the lungs with saline dramatically reduced the responsiveness of the lateral body walls of both the lunged salamanders and the lizards. As previously demonstrated in anuran amphibians, the lateral body wall and lungs of salamanders and lizards may function in sound reception, especially at relatively low frequencies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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