How well do squid hear?


Sep 1, 2003
I volunteer at a herpetology lab these days, but my obsession with squid is still there. I was talking the other day to Henry, the guy who is pretty much in charge of what I do, and we got to discussing squid. The subject of senses was brought up, I'm not sure how, but we realized that neither of us knows whether squid can hear at all, or whether they can sense vibrations in water (like fish do with a lateral line, I mean). Any information would be appreciated.
Not sure if they "hear" as such but they can certainly pick up vibrations. I imagine the statolith/statocyst combination would be useful for that and Bernd Budelmann & Horst Bleckmann wrote a paper showing a lateral line analogue in cuttles and squid

Budelmann & Bleckmann, (1988) A lateral line analogue in cephalopods: water waves generate microphonic potentials in the epidermal head lines ofSepia andLolliguncula. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology.Vol164(1). p. 1-5.


Hanlon, RT; Budelmann, B-U, (1987).Why cephalopods are probably not "deaf". American Naturalist. Vol. 129(2), pp. 312-317

I have a pdf of the latter.

Me neither! I don't think I brought it out to Halifax this year (which is odd) so I just dropped that suggestion hoping you would! :lol: Maybe Kat has her's on hand.
Abstract attached. Unfortunately I missed that session. :roll:

Kaifu, K.; Segawa, S.; Tsuchiya, K. Hearing in octopus.


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Wasn't there a similar thread on here about a year and a half ago regarding octopuses? Cephs are very visually oriented animals anyway, and wouldn't audio be quite a confusing affair in a 3D environment? mind you, plenty animals do use sound, espeically for communication, like cetaceans, but again cephs communicate visually. I wonder if picking up vibrations in the water isn't pretty much the same thing as sound anyway? Seeing as sound waves are just vibrations of the medium? I dunno, I'm not too clued up on sound, to be honest.:hmm:
I heard some interesting news whilst in the States, and it is apparent that someone is about to conduct some exciting research on this very subject matter. It may be a year or so (perhaps 2 years) before this is public domain, but what is proposed is quite sensational, and it will be worth the wait to learn all about it.
Graeme, we live in 3d environments too, and audio is very important for us. Fish in general are very sensetive to water vibrations, so I can't think of why a cephalopod wouldn't be except for the extra resources required.
In addition to the articles noted above, Hanlon and Messenger addressed the "are cephalopods deaf" issue at some length in a book titled Cephalopod Behavior, and noted that squid in an aquarium definitely respond quickly and dramatically to the pressure waves produced by simply tapping on the side of the tank. I think that would make the answer functionally no, at least in some species, however you want to parse the verbage.

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