Tympanic and extratympanic sound transmission in the leopard frog

Summary

The inner ear of the leopard frog,Rana pipiens, receives sound via two separate pathways: the tympanic-columellar pathway and an extratympanic route. The relative efficiency of the two pathways was investigated. Laser interferometry measurements of tympanic vibration induced by free-field acoustic stimulation reveal a broadly tuned response with maximal vibration at 800 and 1500 Hz. Vibrational amplitude falls off rapidly above and below these frequencies so that above 2 kHz and below 300 Hz tympanic vibration is severely reduced. Electrophysiological measurements of the thresholds of single eighth cranial nerve fibers from both the amphibian and basilar papillae in response to pure tones were made in such a way that the relative efficiency of tympanic and extratympanic transmission could be assessed for each fiber. Thresholds for the two routes are very similar up to 1.0 kHz, above which tympanic transmission eventually becomes more efficient by 15–20 dB. By varying the relative phase of the two modes of stimulation, a reduction of the eighth nerve response can be achieved. When considered together, the measurements of tympanic vibration and the measurements of tympanic and extratympanic transmission thresholds suggest that under normal conditions in this species (1) below 300 Hz extratympanic sound transmission is the main source of inner ear stimulation; (2) for most of the basilar papilla frequency range (i.e., above 1.2 kHz) tympanic transmission is more important; and (3) both routes contribute to the stimulation of amphibian papilla fibers tuned between those points. Thus acoustic excitation of the an uran's inner ear depends on a complex interac tion between tympanic and extratympanic sound transmission.

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Abbreviations

dB SPL :

decibels sound pressure level re: 20 μN/ m2

AP :

amphibian papilla

BP :

basilar papilla

BEF :

best excitatory frequency

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Correspondence to Walter Wilczynski.

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Wilczynski, W., Resler, C. & Capranica, R.R. Tympanic and extratympanic sound transmission in the leopard frog. J. Comp. Physiol. 161, 659–669 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00605007

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Keywords

  • Relative Efficiency
  • Eighth Cranial Nerve
  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Eighth Cranial Nerve Fiber
  • Leopard Frog