Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 155, Issue 6, pp 753–761 | Cite as

Auditory sensitivity and psychophysical tuning curves in the elephant nose fish,Gnathonemus petersii

  • Catherine A. McCormick
  • Arthur N. Popper


Hearing sensitivity and psychophysical tuning curves were determined for the mormyridGnathonemus petersii. Pure tone hearing thresholds were determined from 100 Hz to 2,500 Hz, with best sensitivity being about −31 dB (re: 1 dyne/ cm2) from 300 Hz to 1,000 Hz. In order to determine frequency tuning of the auditory system, psychophysical tuning curves (PTC's) were measured with the masker presented simultaneously with, or just ahead of, the 500 Hz test signal. The sound level for different frequencies needed to just mask the test tone were determined from 100 to 800 Hz. Maximum masking occurred in both forward and simultaneous conditions when the masker and the test tone were at the same frequency. As the masker was moved in frequency from 500 Hz, higher sound levels of maskers were needed to afford masking of the test tone. The data were similar in simultaneous and forward masking, with theQ10 dB, a measure of sharpness of tuning, being about 5 in both cases. Data were compared for other species for which behavioral thresholds and PTC's are available.Gnathonemus hears about as wide a range of frequencies as the goldfish,Carassius auratus, although the PTC's for the two species are strikingly different. The PTC's forGnathonemus resemble those determined in a forward-masking paradigm for the clown knife fish,Notopterus chitala, even thoughGnathonemus has a wider hearing bandwidth.


Auditory System Pure Tone Sound Level Hearing Threshold Frequency Tuning 
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.



amplitude modulated


electric organ discharge


psychophysical tuning curve


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine A. McCormick
    • 1
  • Arthur N. Popper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Schools of Medicine and DentistryGeorgetown UniversityWashington, District of ColumbiaUSA

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