• auditory evoked potential;
  • field attraction;
  • threshold

Field measurements of hearing thresholds were obtained from the Atlantic sharpnose shark Rhizoprionodon terraenovae using the auditory evoked potential method (AEP). The fish had most sensitive hearing at 20 Hz, the lowest frequency tested, with decreasing sensitivity at higher frequencies. Hearing thresholds were lower than AEP thresholds previously measured for the nurse shark Ginglymostoma cirratum and yellow stingray Urobatis jamaicensis at frequencies <200 Hz, and similar at 200 Hz and above. Rhizoprionodon terraenovae represents the closest comparison in terms of pelagic lifestyle to the sharks which have been observed in acoustic field attraction experiments. The sound pressure levels that would be equivalent to the particle acceleration thresholds of R. terraenovae were much higher than the sound levels which attracted closely related sharks suggesting a discrepancy between the hearing threshold experiments and the field attraction experiments.