Development of brainstem auditory pathway in mallard duck embryos and hatchlings

J Comp Physiol A. 1992 Dec;171(5):665-71. doi: 10.1007/BF00194114.


The development of the brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) was studied in mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) embryos and hatchlings from 5-6 days before hatching through two days after hatching in response to tone pips of different frequencies. BAEPs showed a different time of onset and a different rate of development for low, middle, and high frequencies. Although auditory sensitivity in the mid-frequency range (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and 3.0 kHz) appeared 1-2 days later than in the low-frequency range, development of the BAEPs in the mid-frequency range was almost complete by hatching. In contrast, the development of auditory sensitivity in the low- and high-frequency ranges continued to develop after hatching. Accelerated development of BAEPs to middle frequencies during the embryonic period and to high frequencies after hatching was correlated with the ducklings' exposure to their own mid-frequency and high-frequency vocalizations before and after hatching, respectively.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Ducks / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology