Title

Morphological specializations for low- frequency hearing in túngara frogs

Poster Number

4

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Marcos Gridi-Papp

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Studies of sound production and hearing in mammals have shown that the sizes of the larynges and middle ear ossicles affect the frequencies of the sounds produced and heard by these animals. As a consequence, larger anurans hear and produce sounds at lower frequencies than smaller anurans. Túngara frogs (Engystomops pustulosus) are small, but can hear and produce sound at much lower frequencies than expected for their size. We hypothesized that the sensitivity to lower frequency hearing in this frog is due to some anatomical specialization within the middle ear. This hypothesis was tested through comparative studies, using dissection and histology, of the middle ear ossicles of the túngara and other anuran species. Preliminary data show that túngara frogs have a highly enlarged extracolumella in the middle ear, which loads the eardrums, making them respond best to low frequency sounds. These findings indicate that there may be greater variation among hearing systems of anurans than previously noted. Understanding these variations and the mechanisms involved can further our appreciation of ear design and performance in other organisms.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

21-4-2011 6:00 PM

End Date

21-4-2011 8:00 PM

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Apr 21st, 6:00 PM Apr 21st, 8:00 PM

Morphological specializations for low- frequency hearing in túngara frogs

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Studies of sound production and hearing in mammals have shown that the sizes of the larynges and middle ear ossicles affect the frequencies of the sounds produced and heard by these animals. As a consequence, larger anurans hear and produce sounds at lower frequencies than smaller anurans. Túngara frogs (Engystomops pustulosus) are small, but can hear and produce sound at much lower frequencies than expected for their size. We hypothesized that the sensitivity to lower frequency hearing in this frog is due to some anatomical specialization within the middle ear. This hypothesis was tested through comparative studies, using dissection and histology, of the middle ear ossicles of the túngara and other anuran species. Preliminary data show that túngara frogs have a highly enlarged extracolumella in the middle ear, which loads the eardrums, making them respond best to low frequency sounds. These findings indicate that there may be greater variation among hearing systems of anurans than previously noted. Understanding these variations and the mechanisms involved can further our appreciation of ear design and performance in other organisms.