Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 182, Issue 6, pp 737–746 | Cite as

Correlation between auditory sensitivity and vocalization in anabantoid fishes

  • F. Ladich
  • H. Y. Yan


Several anabantoid species produce broad-band sounds with high-pitched dominant frequencies (0.8–2.5 kHz), which contrast with generally low-frequency hearing abilities in (perciform) fishes. Utilizing a recently developed auditory brainstem response recording-technique, auditory sensitivities of the gouramis Trichopsis vittata, T. pumila, Colisa lalia, Macropodus opercularis and Trichogaster trichopterus were investigated and compared with the sound characteristics of the respective species. All five species exhibited enhanced sound-detecting abilities and perceived tone bursts up to 5 kHz, which qualifies this group as hearing specialists. All fishes possessed a high-frequency sensitivity maximum between 800 Hz and 1500 Hz. Lowest hearing thresholds were found in T. trichopterus (76 dB re 1 μPa at 800 Hz). Dominant frequencies of sounds correspond with the best hearing bandwidth in T. vittata (1–2 kHz) and C. lalia (0.8–1 kHz). In the smallest species, T. pumila, dominant frequencies of acoustic signals (1.5–2.5 kHz) do not match lowest thresholds, which were below 1.5 kHz. However, of all species studied, T. pumila had best hearing sensitivity at frequencies above 2 kHz. The association between high-pitched sounds and hearing may be caused by the suprabranchial air-breathing chamber, which, lying close to the hearing and sonic organs, enhances both sound perception and emission at its resonant frequency.

Key words Auditory sensitivity Sound spectra ABR Evolution Communication 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Ladich
    • 1
  • H. Y. Yan
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria Fax: +43-131 336-778 e-mail:
  2. 2.University of Kentucky, T.H. Morgan School of Biological Sciences, Lexington, KY 40506-0225, USAUS

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