1. 1.

    The response of the epidermal lateral-line organ of Xenopus laevis to stimulation was studied by recording extracellular receptor potentials from the hair cells in single neuromasts in isolated preparations. One neuromast was stimulated by local, sinusoidal water movements induced by a glass sphere positioned at a short distance from the neuromast.

  2. 2.

    The amplitudes of the extracellular receptor potentials were proportional to the stimulus amplitude over a range of 20 dB. The phase of the extracellular receptor potentials with respect to water displacement was independent of the stimulus amplitude.

  3. 3.

    With large stimulus amplitude, and stimulus frequencies between 0.5 Hz and 2 Hz, the extracellular receptor potentials, and responses of single afferent nerve fibres, showed a phase lead of 1.2 π radians with respect to water displacement, i.e. they were almost in phase with water acceleration.

  4. 4.

    It is concluded that under conditions of stimulation with small-amplitude water movements, the hair cells respond to sensory hair displacement, whereas under conditions of stimulation with large-amplitude water movements they respond to sensory hair velocity.

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