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Biophysics of directional hearing in the frog Eleutherodactylus coqui

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  1. 1.

    We used laser vibrometry and free field sound stimulation to study the frequency responses of the eardrum and the lateral body wall of awake male Eleutherodactylus coqui.

  2. 2.

    The eardrum snowed one of two distinct frequency responses depending on whether the glottis was open (GO response) or closed (GC response) during the measurement.

  3. 3.

    The lateral body wall vibrated with a maximum amplitude close to that of the eardrum and in the same frequency range.

  4. 4.

    Covering the frog's body wall with vaseline reduced the vibration amplitude of the GC response by up to 15 dB.

  5. 5.

    When a closed sound delivery system was used to stimulate a local area of the body wall the eardrum also showed one of two types of responses.

  6. 6.

    These results suggest that sound is transmitted via the lung cavity to the internal surface of the eardrum. This lung input has a significant influence on the vibrations of the eardrum even when the glottis is closed.

  7. 7.

    The vibration amplitude of the eardrum changed with the angle of sound incidence. The directionality was most pronounced in a narrow frequency range between the two main frequencies of the conspecific advertisement call.

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GC :

glottis closed

GO :

glottis open


interaural vibration amplitude difference


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Jørgensen, M.B., Schmitz, B. & Christensen-Dalsgaard, J. Biophysics of directional hearing in the frog Eleutherodactylus coqui . J Comp Physiol A 168, 223–232 (1991).

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Key words

  • Eleutherodactylus coqui
  • Directional hearing
  • Eardrum vibrations
  • Auditory periphery
  • Frequency response