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J Comp Physiol A. 1992 Sep;171(2):245-50.

Midbrain auditory sensitivity in the spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer): correlations with behavioral studies.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


1. We derived audiograms from recordings of multiunit activity in the torus semicircularis of 10 males and 6 females of the spring peeper from central Missouri, USA. We used free-field stimulation with tone bursts that had temporal properties similar to typical advertisement calls and that ranged in frequency from 500-6000 Hz. 2. Audiograms from different electrode positions in the same animal had the same general shape. There was no evidence of tonotopy. 3. Audiograms showed two regions of maximal sensitivity: a low-frequency region (500-700 Hz); and a high-frequency region (2000-4000 Hz). Absolute thresholds and frequencies of maximum sensitivity varied considerably from individual to individual. 4. Audiograms derived from all individuals of each sex indicated that in the high-frequency region, corresponding to the frequency range of advertisement calls, males were more broadly tuned than females. However, tuning in both sexes was relatively weak, and the data predict relatively little selectivity in behavioral responses over the entire range of variation in frequency of the advertisement call in local populations. 5. The results are discussed in terms of behavioral experiments with both males and females from the same populations in central Missouri. We show that merely summarizing the audiograms based on estimates of minimum thresholds of a population or species may mask significant individual differences in tuning. Moreover, most behavioral studies are conducted at playback levels considerably above threshold. For these reasons, behavioral selectivity is not always accurately predicted by inspection of "average" audiograms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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