Underwater hearing in the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta): a comparison of behavioral and auditory evoked potential audiograms.

Research paper by Kelly J KJ Martin, Sarah C SC Alessi, Joseph C JC Gaspard, Anton D AD Tucker, Gordon B GB Bauer, David A DA Mann

Indexed on: 10 Aug '12Published on: 10 Aug '12Published in: The Journal of experimental biology


The purpose of this study was to compare underwater behavioral and auditory evoked potential (AEP) audiograms in a single captive adult loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The behavioral audiogram was collected using a go/no-go response procedure and a modified staircase method of threshold determination. AEP thresholds were measured using subdermal electrodes placed beneath the frontoparietal scale, dorsal to the midbrain. Both methods showed the loggerhead sea turtle to have low frequency hearing with best sensitivity between 100 and 400 Hz. AEP testing yielded thresholds from 100 to 1131 Hz with best sensitivity at 200 and 400 Hz (110 dB re. 1 μPa). Behavioral testing using 2 s tonal stimuli yielded underwater thresholds from 50 to 800 Hz with best sensitivity at 100 Hz (98 dB re. 1 μPa). Behavioral thresholds averaged 8 dB lower than AEP thresholds from 100 to 400 Hz and 5 dB higher at 800 Hz. The results suggest that AEP testing can be a good alternative to measuring a behavioral audiogram with wild or untrained marine turtles and when time is a crucial factor.