Intracellular recordings were made from nerve fibers in the posterior ampullary nerve near the neuroepithelium. Calyx-bearing afferents were identified by their distinctive efferent-mediated responses. Such fibers receive inputs from both type I and type II hair cells. Type II inputs are made by synapses on the outer face of the calyx ending and on the boutons of dimorphic fibers. Quantal activity, consisting of brief mEPSPs, is reduced by lowering the external concentration of Ca2+ and blocked by the AMPA-receptor antagonist CNQX. Poisson statistics govern the timing of mEPSPs, which occur at high rates (250-2,500/s) in the absence of mechanical stimulation. Excitation produced by canal-duct indentation can increase mEPSP rates to nearly 5,000/s. As the rate increases, mEPSPs can change from a monophasic depolarization to a biphasic depolarizing-hyperpolarizing sequence, both of whose components are blocked by CNQX. Blockers of voltage-gated currents affect mEPSP size, which is decreased by TTX and is increased by linopirdine. mEPSP size decreases severalfold after impalement. The size decrease, although it may be triggered by the depolarization occurring during impalement, persists even at hyperpolarized membrane potentials. Nonquantal transmission is indicated by shot-noise calculations and by the presence of voltage modulations after quantal activity is abolished pharmacologically. An ultrastructural study shows that inner-face inputs from type I hair cells outnumber outer-face inputs from type II hair cells by an almost 61 ratio.