Navigation Links
Dolphin hearing system component found in insects
Date:12/13/2012

A hearing system component thought to be unique in toothed whales like dolphins has been discovered in insects, following research involving the University of Strathclyde.

The research is challenging ideas about how a large group of insects including crickets and katydids hear, revealing the unexpected similarity to toothed whale hearing.

Scientists from the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Auckland, with colleagues from Plant & Food Research in New Zealand, led the research with engineers from the University of Strathclyde working on the biomechanical aspects of the project.

They discovered that the iconic New Zealand insect, the weta, rely on a unique lipid a compound that includes oils and fats to hear the world around them.

Dr James Windmill, of the University of Strathclyde's Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering, said: "As engineers we are particularly interested in how sound interacts with certain materials and how it travels to and from a source. These findings help us to improve our fundamental knowledge and could inspire new systems in ultrasound technologies like biomedical and non-destructive testing.

"The discovery is interesting as previously only toothed whales were known to use this hearing system component, the lipid. There are many similarities in the use of lipids to amplify the sounds and help both animal groups to hear.

"We don't know why animals who are so far apart in evolutionary terms have this similarity, but it opens up the possibility that others may use the same system component."

The sound is known to be transmitted through a liquid-filled cavity to reach the hearing organs, but until the current research was carried out it was presumed that the liquid was simply the insect equivalent of blood.

The researchers found that it was in fact a lipid of a new chemical class. They believe the role of the lipid is to efficiently transmit sound between compartments of the ear, and perhaps to help amplify quiet sounds.

Dr Kate Lomas from the University of Auckland, said: "In the weta, as in other members of the Ensiferan group which includes katydids and crickets, sound is detected by ear drums on the front legs."

Using new tissue analysis and three-dimensional imaging techniques the scientists also discovered a tiny organ in the insects' ears, which they named the olivarius after Dr Lomas' son Ollie. The organ appears to be responsible for producing the all-important lipid.

It may have been overlooked in previous studies because standard analytical techniques, which are much harsher, would have damaged or destroyed the fragile tissue.

Dr Lomas added: "The ear is surprisingly delicate so we had to modify how we looked at its structure and in doing so we discovered this tiny organ."

The researchers carried out their work with the Auckland tree weta. They believe that the same method of hearing is likely to be used by other members of its biologic class, including crickets and katydids, which are famous for the sounds they produce.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Beaton
john.beaton@strath.ac.uk
44-141-548-2924
University of Strathclyde
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Eating right key to survival of whales and dolphins: UBC research
2. New maps may reduce tourism impacts on Hawaiian dolphins
3. Study points to causes of high dolphin deaths in Gulf of Mexico
4. Do dolphins think nonlinearly?
5. Mercury in dolphins: Study compares toxin levels in captive and wild sea mammals
6. Dolphins cultivate loose alliances
7. Size matters: Large Marine Protected Areas work for dolphins
8. USF researchers identify gene mutation linked to old age hearing loss
9. Hearing the telltale sounds of dangerous chemicals
10. Cichlid fish: How does the swim bladder affect hearing?
11. Study of zebra fish mouth formation may speak to Fraser syndrome hearing loss
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, ... biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, today ... million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity ... technologies for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation ... the onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the ... the first application of deep learning to create predictive ... lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. The ... and future publicly available resources created and shared by ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... LOS ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On ... Hack the Genome hackathon at ... This exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health ... experience. Hack the Genome is ... has been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2017 , ... The ... use of health IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange and a statutory ... W. Rucker, MD, head of the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... redesigned, easier-to-navigate website for all six of their healthcare job boards. As ... pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, and biotechnicians, DocCafe.com and the MedJobCafe.com Health ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... , ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... over the allergy specialists DST Diagnostische Systeme & Technologien GmbH, thereby expanding its ... someone who suffers from hay fever, urticaria, asthma, atopic eczema or a food ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... MD (PRWEB) , ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... solutions provider, announced the release of Limfinity® version 6.5, a content-packed update to ... framework continue to gain a larger and more diverse base of customers among ...
Breaking Biology Technology: