Neuroethology of sound localization in anurans

H. Carl Gerhardt*, Mark A. Bee, Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Albert Feng pioneered the study of neuroethology of sound localization in anurans by combining behavioral experiments on phonotaxis with detailed investigations of neural processing of sound direction from the periphery to the central nervous system. The main advantage of these studies is that many species of female frogs readily perform phonotaxis towards loudspeakers emitting the species-specific advertisement call. Behavioral studies using synthetic calls can identify which parameters are important for phonotaxis and also quantify localization accuracy. Feng was the first to investigate binaural processing using single-unit recordings in the first two auditory nuclei in the central auditory pathway and later investigated the directional properties of auditory nerve fibers with free-field stimulation. These studies showed not only that the frog ear is inherently directional by virtue of acoustical coupling or crosstalk between the two eardrums, but also confirmed that there are extratympanic pathways that affect directionality in the low-frequency region of the frog’s hearing range. Feng’s recordings in the midbrain also showed that directional information is enhanced by cross-midline inhibition. An important contribution toward the end of his career involved his participation in neuroethological research with a team of scientists working with frogs that produce ultrasonic calls.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)115-129
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Albert Feng
  • Binaural input requirement
  • Cross-midline inhibition
  • Pressure-difference system
  • Sound localization
  • Sound Localization/physiology
  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Sound
  • Auditory Pathways/physiology
  • Hearing/physiology
  • Anura
  • Animals
  • Female


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