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Proc Inst Acoust. 2009 Jan 1;31:13-21.

STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE MIDDLE EAR APPARATUS OF THE AQUATIC FROG, XENOPUS LAEVIS.

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1
Current address: Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract

We report the results of anatomical and vibrometric studies of the middle ear of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. The cartilaginous tympanic disk of Xenopus shows pronounced sexual dimorphism, that of male frogs being much larger than that of females, relative to body size. The stapes footplate, however, is not enlarged in males. The cucullaris muscle was found to insert on the stapes in frogs of both sexes. Using laser interferometry to examine the response of middle ear structures to airborne sound, the stapes footplate was found to vibrate close to 180° out-of-phase with the tympanic disk across a range of frequencies, this resembling the relationship between tympanic membrane and footplate movement previously described in ranid frogs. By contrast, whereas there is a pronounced difference in vibration velocity between tympanic membrane and footplate in ranids, the footplate vibration velocity in Xenopus was found to be similar to that of the tympanic disk. This may be interpreted as an adaptation to improve the detection of sound underwater.

PMID:
20953303
PMCID:
PMC2953823

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