Detection of low-frequency tones and whale predator sounds by the American sand lance Ammodytes americanus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Auditory evoked potentials (AEP) were used to measure the hearing range and auditory sensitivity of the American sand lance Ammodytes americanus. Responses to amplitude-modulated tone pips indicated that the hearing range extended from 50 to 400 Hz. Sound pressure thresholds were lowest between 200 and 400 Hz. Particle acceleration thresholds showed an improved sensitivity notch at 200 Hz but not substantial differences between frequencies and only a slight improvement in hearing abilities at lower frequencies. The hearing range was similar to Pacific sand lance Ammodytes personatus and variations between species may be due to differences in threshold evaluation methods. AEPs were also recorded in response to pulsed sounds simulating humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae foraging vocalizations termed megapclicks. Responses were generated with pulses containing significant energy below 400 Hz. No responses were recorded using pulses with peak energy above 400 Hz. These results show that A. americanus can detect the particle motion component of low-frequency tones and pulse sounds, including those similar to the low-frequency components of megapclicks. Ammodytes americanus hearing may be used to detect environmental cues and the pulsed signals of mysticete predators.

publication date

  • October 2012