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Biology: Now hear this, or not

Nature volume 459, page 12 (07 May 2009) | Download Citation

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Image: T. ULMAR GRAFE

Although many mammals can hear very high frequencies, other vertebrates are less au fait with ultrasound.

Victoria Arch, of the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues now report that a frog from Borneo, Huia cavitympanum, is the first non-mammalian vertebrate discovered to communicate with calls purely in the range above 20 kilohertz, which is about the upper limit of human hearing. This species had been known to produce these ultrasonic calls, and when playing them back in the field, the team found that male frogs nearby increased the frequency of their calls in response.

On examining the frog's brain and ears, the researchers showed that its hearing was most sensitive above 20 kilohertz.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/459012a

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