Responses of multi-units in the auditory cortex (AC) of unanaesthetized Mongolian gerbils to pure tones and to linearly frequency modulated (FM) sounds were analysed. Three types of responses to pure tones could be clearly distinguished on the basis of spectral tuning properties, response latencies and overall temporal response pattern. In response to FM sweeps these three types discharged in a temporal pattern similar to tone responses. However, for all type-1 units the latencies of some phasic response components shifted systematically as a function of range and/or speed of modulation. Measurements of response latencies to FMs revealed that such responses were evoked whenever the modulation reached a particular instantaneous frequency (Fi). Effective Fi was: (1) independent of modulation range and speed, (2) always reached before the modulation arrived at a local maximum of the frequency response function (FRF) and consequently differed for downward and upward sweeps, and (3) was correlated with the steepest slope of that FRF maximum. The three different types of units were found in discrete and separate fields or regions of the AC. It is concluded that gross temporal response properties are one of the key features distinguishing auditory cortical regions in the Mongolian gerbil.