Inner ear structure electrophysiological audiograms of the subterranean mole rat, Spalax ehrenbergi

V. Bruns, M. Müller, W. Hofer, G. Heth, E. Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subterranean mole rats of the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies in Israel have a distinctly developed vocal repertoire, presumably compensating together with olfaction for their complete blindness, thus providing an efficient communication system underground. Here we describe the unique organization of the cochlea of Spalax among mammals. The cochlea is subdivided into different subsystems where in the apical subsystem the fluid space and the organ of Corti differ remarkably from that in the basal subsystem, a feature as yet unknown in other mammals. The audiograms based on cochlear microphonics and on evoked potential recordings from the midbrain and brainstem, reveal a hearing range from 0.1 kHz-10 kHz with a best sensitivity between 0.5 and 1 kHz.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This studyw as supportedb y the DeutscheF or-schungsgemeinscha(SftF B 45, B 21), the Israel Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology and the “Ancell-Teicher ResearchF oundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution” established by Florence and Theodore Baumrittero f New York. The authors would like to thank G. Elter for skilful histologicalw ork, 3 D-reconstructiona, nd typing the manuscriptT. he authorsa re gratefult o Prof. Dr. G. Neuweiler, Munich, for valuable suggestionas nd comments.


  • Audiograms
  • Cochlear morphology
  • Mammal, subterranean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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