Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) hearing threshold for brief broadband signals

J Comp Psychol. 2002 Jun;116(2):151-7. doi: 10.1037/0735-7036.116.2.151.


The hearing sensitivity of an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) to both pure tones and broadband signals simulating echoes from a 7.62-cm water-filled sphere was measured. Pure tones with frequencies between 40 and 140 kHz in increments of 20 kHz were measured along with broadband thresholds using a stimulus with a center frequency of 97.3 kHz and 88.2 kHz. The pure-tone thresholds were compared with the broadband thresholds by converting the pure-tone threshold intensity to energy flux density. The results indicated that dolphins can detect broadband signals slightly better than a pure-tone signal. The broadband results suggest that an echolocating bottlenose dolphin should be able to detect a 7.62-cm diameter water-filled sphere out to a range of 178 m in a quiet environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior
  • Auditory Threshold*
  • Dolphins / psychology*
  • Echolocation*
  • Female
  • Pitch Discrimination*
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Sound Spectrography