Multimodal sensory input in the utricle and lateral line of the toadfish, Opsanus tau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The utricular otolith and the mechanosensory lateral line of the toadfish, Opsanus tau, were investigated for sensitivity to multimodal sensory input by recording neural activity from free swimming fish. The utricle was sensitive to horizontal body movement, and displayed broad sensitivity to low frequency (80–200 Hz) sound. The lateral line was sensitive to water currents, swimming, prey movements, and sound with maximal sensitivity at 100 Hz. Both systems showed directional sensitivity to pure tones and toadfish vocalizations, indicating potential for sound localization. Thus, toadfish possess two hair cell based sensory systems that integrate information from disparate sources. However, swimming movements or predation strikes can saturate each system and it is unclear the effect that self-generated movement has on sensitivity. It is hypothesized that the toadfish’s strategy of short distance swim movements allows it to sample the acoustical environment while static. Further study is needed to determine the integration of the two systems and if they are able to segregate and/or integrate multimodal sensory input.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I am grateful to Karen Maruska (utricle) and Craig Radford (lateral line) for performing the bulk of the experiments and data analysis reported in this chapter and to the Grass foundation for providing their support. Thanks to Lucy Palmer and Max Deffenbaugh for initial help in developing the tag. Funding was provided by NSF grants IOS 0316130, 0843735, and 1354745.

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • Auditory
  • Behavior
  • Sound localization
  • Vestibular


Dive into the research topics of 'Multimodal sensory input in the utricle and lateral line of the toadfish, Opsanus tau'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this