Sound perception and detection in decapod crustaceans is surprisingly poorly understood, even though there is mounting evidence for sound playing a critical role in many life history strategies. The suspected primary organ of sound perception is the paired statocysts at the base of the first antennal segment. To better understand the comparative sound detection of decapods, auditory evoked potentials were recorded from the statocyst nerve region of four species (Leptograpsus variegate, Plagusia chabrus, Ovalipes catharus, Austrohelice crassa) in response to two different auditory stimuli presentation methods, shaker table (particle acceleration) and underwater speaker (particle acceleration and pressure). The results showed that there was significant variation in the sound detection abilities between all four species. However, exposure to the speaker stimuli increased all four species sound detection abilities, in terms of both frequency bandwidth and sensitivity, compared with shaker table-derived sound detection abilities. This indicates that there is another sensory mechanism in play as well as the statocyst system. Overall, the present research provides comparative evidence of sound detection in decapods and indicates underwater sound detection in this animal group was even more complex than previously thought.

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