Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 122, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Directional hearing in the median vertical plane by the cod

  • A. D. Hawkins
  • O. Sand


The ability of cod (Gadus morhua) to discriminate between sound sources in the median vertical plane was studied using a cardiac conditioning technique. Masked auditory thresholds were obtained by transmitting tone and noise from separate projectors. There was a significant decrease in masking as the angular separation between tone and noise sources increased, confirming that cod is able to perform an auditory discrimination based on directional cues (Fig. 2). The power of angular resolution was studied using a directional change of a pulsed tone as the conditioning stimulus. The limit for angular discrimination was close to 16°, as compared to 20° previously reported for the horizontal plane (Fig. 4). Humans are unable to discriminate between pure tones from different directions in the median vertical plane. This difference in auditory ability between fish and humans may be attributed to the difference in habitat; the fish living in a three dimensional medium while humans are restricted to a surface.


Conditioning Stimulus Horizontal Plane Noise Source Sound Source Pure Tone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bergeijk, W.A. van: Directional and non-directional hearing in fish. In: Marine bioacoustics (ed. W.N. Tavolga), p. 281–299. Oxford: Pergamon Press 1964Google Scholar
  2. Butler, R.A.: Does tonotopicity subserve the perceived elevation of a sound? Fed. Proc.33, 1920–1923 (1974)Google Scholar
  3. Chapman, C.J.: Field studies of hearing in teleost fish. Helgoländer wiss. Meeresunters.24, 371–390 (1973)Google Scholar
  4. Chapman, C.J., Hawkins, A.D.: A field study of hearing in the cod. J. comp. Physiol.85, 147–167 (1973)Google Scholar
  5. Chapman, C.J., Johnstone, A.D.F.: Some auditory discrimination experiments on marine fish. J. exp. Biol.61, 521–528 (1974)Google Scholar
  6. Chapman, C.J., Sand, O.: A field study of hearing in two species of flatfish,Pleuronectes platessa (L.) andLimanda limanda (L.). Comp. Biochem. Physiol.47A, 371–385 (1973)Google Scholar
  7. Enger, F.S., Hawkins, A.D., Sand, O., Chapman, C.J.: Directional sensitivity of saccular microphonic potentials in the haddock. J. exp. Biol.59, 425–433 (1973)Google Scholar
  8. Frisch, F., von, Dijkgraaf, S.: Können Fische die Schallrichtung wahrnehmen? Z. vergl. Physiol.22, 641–655 (1935)Google Scholar
  9. Reinhardt, F.: Über Richtungswahrnehmung bei Fischen, besonders bei der Elritze und beim Zwergwels. Z. vergl. Physiol.22, 570–603 (1935)Google Scholar
  10. Sanchez Longo, L.P., Forster, T.L.: A clinical test for sound localization and its applications. Neurology7, 633–655 (1957)Google Scholar
  11. Sand, O.: Directional sensitivity of microphonic potentials from the perch ear. J. exp. Biol.60, 881–899 (1974)Google Scholar
  12. Schuijf, A.: Directional hearing of cod under approximate free field conditions. J. comp. Physiol.98, 307–332 (1975)Google Scholar
  13. Schuijf, A., Baretta, J.W., Wildschut, J.T.: A field investigation on the discrimination of sound direction inLabrus bergylta. Neth. J. Zool.22, 81–104 (1972)Google Scholar
  14. Schuijf, A., Buwalda, R.J.A.: On the mechanism of directional hearing in cod. J. comp. Physiol.98, 333–343 (1975)Google Scholar
  15. Walsh, E.G.: Investigation of sound localization in patients with neurological abnormalities. Brain80, 222–250 (1957)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. D. Hawkins
    • 1
  • O. Sand
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine LaboratoryAberdeenScotland
  2. 2.Institute of ZoophysiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations