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Hear Res. 2011 Mar;273(1-2):7-13. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2010.03.092. Epub 2010 Apr 27.

Antennal hearing in insects--new findings, new questions.

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Department of Cellular Neurobiology, University of Göttingen, Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine, Hermann-Rein-Str. 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.


Mosquitoes, certain Drosophila species, and honey bees use Johnston's organ in their antennae to detect the wing-beat sounds of conspecifics. Recent studies on these insects have provided novel insights into the intricacies of insect hearing and sound communication, with main discoveries including transduction and amplification mechanisms as known from vertebrate hearing, functional and molecular diversifications of mechanosensory cells, and complex mating duets that challenge the frequency-limits of insect antennal ears. This review discusses these recent advances and outlines potential avenues for future research.

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