Lagenar potentials of the vocal plainfin midshipman fish, Porichthys notatus

  • Brooke J. VetterEmail author
  • Lane H. Seeley
  • Joseph A. Sisneros
Original Paper


The plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) is a species of marine teleost that produces acoustic signals that are important for mediating social behavior. The auditory sensitivity of the saccule is well established in this species, but the sensitivity and function of the midshipman’s putative auditory lagena are unknown. Here, we characterize the auditory-evoked potentials from hair cells in the lagena of reproductive type I males to determine the frequency response and auditory sensitivity of the lagena to behaviorally relevant acoustic stimuli. Lagenar potentials were recorded from the caudal and medial region of the lagena, while acoustic stimuli were presented by an underwater speaker. Our results indicate that the midshipman lagena has a similar low-frequency sensitivity to that of the midshipman saccule based on sound pressure and acceleration (re: 1 µPa and 1 ms−2, respectively), but the thresholds of the lagena were higher across all frequencies tested. The relatively high auditory thresholds of the lagena may be important for encoding high levels of behaviorally relevant acoustic stimuli when close to  a sound source.


Auditory-evoked potentials Lagena Hair cell tuning Hearing 



The authors would like to thank Nick Lozier, Rob Mohr, Ruiyu Zeng, and William Palmer for assistance with fish collection and husbandry. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Auditory Neuroscience Training Grant, T32: 4T32DC005361-15 to BJV) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) (IOS-1456700 to JAS). All experimental procedures followed NIH guidelines for the care and use of animals and were approved by the University of Washington Institutional Care and Use Committee.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsSeattle Pacific UniversitySeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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