- This review presents an overview of the physiology of primary receptors serving tympanal hearing in insects. Auditory receptor responses vary with frequency, intensity, and temporal characteristics of sound stimuli. Various insect species exploit each of these parameters to differing degrees in the neural coding of auditory information, depending on the nature of the relevant stimuli. Frequency analysis depends on selective tuning in individual auditory receptors. In those insect groups that have individually tuned receptors, differences in physiology are correlated with structural differences among receptors and with the anatomical arrangement of receptors within the ear. Intensity coding is through the rate-level characteristics of tonically active auditory receptors and through variation in the absolute sensitivities of individual receptors (range fractionation). Temporal features of acoustic stimuli may be copied directly in the timing of afferent responses. Salient signal characteristics may also be represented by variation in the timing of afferent responses on a finer temporal scale, or by the synchrony of responses across a population of receptors.