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Hearing capacities and otolith size in two ophidiiform species (Ophidion rochei and Carapus acus)
Kéver, L.; Colleye, O.; Herrel, A; Romans, P; Parmentier, E. (2014). Hearing capacities and otolith size in two ophidiiform species (Ophidion rochei and Carapus acus). J. Exp. Biol. 217(14): 2517-2525.
In: Journal of Experimental Biology. Cambridge University Press: London. ISSN 0022-0949; e-ISSN 1477-9145, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Carapus acus (Brünnich, 1768) [WoRMS]; Ophidion rochei Müller, 1845 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Audition; Morphology; Otolith; Pearlfish

Authors  Top 
  • Kéver, L., more
  • Colleye, O., more
  • Herrel, A
  • Romans, P
  • Parmentier, E., more

    Numerous studies have highlighted the diversity of fish inner ear morphology. However, the function of the shape, size and orientation of the different structures remains poorly understood. The saccule (otolithic endorgan) is considered to be the principal hearing organ in fishes and it has been hypothesized that sagitta (saccular otolith) shape and size affect hearing capacities: large sagittae are thought to increase sensitivity. The sagittae of many ophidiids and carapids occupy a large volume inside the neurocranium. Hence they are a good structure with which to test the size hypothesis. The main aim of this study was to investigate hearing capacities and inner ear morphology in two ophidiiform species: Ophidion rochei and Carapus acus. We used a multidisciplinary approach that combines dissections, µCT-scan examinations and auditory evoked potential techniques. Carapus acus and O. rochei sagittae have similar maximal diameters; both species have larger otoliths than many non-ophidiiform species, especially compared with the intra-neurocranium volume. Both species are sensitive to sounds up to 2100 Hz. Relative to the skull, O. rochei has smaller sagittae than the carapid, but better hearing capacities from 300 to 900 Hz and similar sensitivities at 150 Hz and from 1200 to 2100 Hz. Results show that hearing capacities of a fish species cannot be predicted only based on sagitta size. Larger otoliths (in size relative to the skull) may have evolved mainly for performing vestibular functions in fishes, especially those species that need to execute precise and complex movements.

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