Grasshoppers of 20 acridid species were examined using spectral analysis, laser vibrometry and electrophysiology to determine whether the song spectra, the best frequencies of tympanal-membrane vibrations and the threshold curves of the tympanal nerves are adapted to one another. The songs of almost all species have a relatively broad-band maximum in the region between 20 and 40 kHz and a narrower peak between 5 and 15 kHz. There are clear interspecific differences in the latter, which are not correlated with the length of the body or of the elytra. At the site of attachment of the low-frequency receptors (a-cells), the tympanal membrane oscillates with maximal amplitude in the region from 5 to 10 kHz. At the attachment site of the high-frequency receptors (d-cells), there is also a maximum in this region as well as another around 15-20 kHz. The tympanal nerve is most sensitive to tones between 5 and 10 kHz, with another sensitivity maximum between 25 and 35 kHz. The species may differ from one another in the position of the low-frequency peaks of the membrane oscillation, of the nerve activity and of the song spectra. No correlation was found between the characteristic frequency of the membrane oscillation and the area of the tympanal membrane. Within a given species, the frequency for maximal oscillation of the membrane at the attachment site of the low-frequency receptors and the frequency for maximal sensitivity of the tympanal nerve are in most cases very close to the low-frequency peak in the song spectrum. In the high-frequency range, the situation is different: here, the position of the peak in the song spectrum is not correlated with the membrane oscillation maximum at the attachment site of the high-frequency receptors, although there is a correlation between the song spectrum and the sensitivity of the tympanal nerve. On the whole, therefore, hearing in acridid grasshoppers is quite well adjusted to the frequency spectra of the songs, partly because the tympanal membrane acts as a frequency filter in the low-frequency range.
JOURNAL ARTICLE| 01 July 1996
How well are FREQUENCY SENSITIVITIES OF grasshopper ears tuned to species-specific song spectra?
Online Issn: 1477-9145
Print Issn: 0022-0949
J Exp Biol (1996) 199 (7): 1631–1642.
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J Meyer, N Elsner; How well are FREQUENCY SENSITIVITIES OF grasshopper ears tuned to species-specific song spectra?. J Exp Biol 1 July 1996; 199 (7): 1631–1642. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.199.7.1631
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