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Hearing in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris): audiogram, sound localization, and ear anatomy.

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Koay, Gimseong 
Heffner, Henry E 


The behavioral audiogram and sound localization performance, together with the middle and inner ear anatomy, were examined in African pygmy hedgehogs Atelerix albiventris. Their auditory sensitivity at 60 dB SPL extended from 2 to 46 kHz, revealing a relatively narrow hearing range of 4.6 octaves, with a best sensitivity of 21 dB at 8 kHz. Their noise-localization acuity around the midline (minimum audible angle) was 14°, matching the mean of terrestrial mammals. The African pygmy hedgehog was not able to localize low-frequency pure tones or a 3-kHz amplitude-modulated tone when forced to rely on the interaural phase-difference cue, a trait shared by at least nine other mammals. The middle ear of Atelerix has a configuration including an ectotympanic which is not fused to the surrounding bones, a substantial pars flaccida, a synostosed malleo-ectotympanic articulation and a 'microtype' malleus. The hearing and sound localization of A. albiventris is compared to that of a broad range of other mammals. It is shown that a malleus morphology like that of Atelerix, including a stiff articulation with the ectotympanic, is a consistent feature of other mammals that do not hear frequencies below 400 Hz.



Audiogram, Binaural cues, Microtype, Middle ear, Sound localization, Animals, Sound Localization, Hearing, Hedgehogs

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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
NIH Research Grant R01 DC/NS02960