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J Fish Biol. 2010 Nov;77(7):1488-504. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2010.02773.x. Epub 2010 Oct 4.

The effect of stimulus type and background noise on hearing abilities of the round goby Neogobius melanostomus.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, N9B 3P4 Canada.


The auditory abilities of the round goby Neogobius melanostomus were quantified using auditory evoked potential recordings, using tone bursts and conspecific call stimuli. Fish were tested over a range of sizes to assess effects of growth on hearing ability. Tests were also run with and without background noise to assess the potential effects of masking in a natural setting. Neogobius melanostomus detected tone bursts from 100 to 600 Hz with no clear best frequency in the pressure domain but were most sensitive to 100 Hz tone stimuli when examined in terms of particle acceleration. Responses to a portion of the N. melanostomus call occurred at a significantly lower threshold than responses to pure tone stimulation. There was no effect of size on N. melanostomus hearing ability, perhaps due to growth of the otolith keeping pace with growth of the auditory epithelium. Neogobius melanostomus were masked by both ambient noise and white noise, but not until sound pressure levels were relatively high, having a 5-10 dB threshold shift at noise levels of 150 dB re 1 ┬ÁPa and higher but not at lower noise levels.

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