Encoding of acoustic directional information by saccular afferents of the sleeper goby, Dormitator latifrons

Z. Lu, J. Song, A. N. Popper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This paper reports on directional response properties of saccular afferents of the sleeper goby, Dormitator latifrons, to 100-Hz acoustic particle motions with a focus on testing the hypothesis that the response directionality of a fish's auditory afferents derives from the morphological polarity of sensory hair cells in the otolithic organs. Spontaneous rates (SR) and best sensitivities (BS) of saccular afferents ranged from 0 to 162 spikes/see and from 0.2- to 100-nm RMS displacement. SR did not vary with BS. Most saccular afferents were phase-locked to sinusoidal stimulation and had sustained temporal response patterns with some adaptation. All saccular afferents were directionally sensitive to the stimulus, and the sharpness of directional response curves was determined by a directionality index (DI). The DI ranged from 0.64 to 1.50 (mean= 1.02, SE = 0.02, n = 100) and gradually decreased with stimulus level throughout afferents' response dynamic range. Many afferents had approximately symmetric directional response curves relative to their best response axes (BRA). BRA of most afferents remained constant with stimulus level. The BRA distribution had a peak along an axis that correlates closely with the morphological polarity of saccular hair cells. Therefore, our results strongly support the hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-815
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - A Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Ear
  • Eighth nerve
  • Fish
  • Hearing
  • Sound localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)


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