Quadrupedal gaits in hexapod animals–inter-leg coordination in free-walking adult stick insects

Grabowska, Martyna, Godlewska, Elzbieta, Schmidt, Joachim and Daun-Gruhn, Silvia (2012) Quadrupedal gaits in hexapod animals–inter-leg coordination in free-walking adult stick insects. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215 4255-4266. doi:10.1242/jeb.073643

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Author Grabowska, Martyna
Godlewska, Elzbieta
Schmidt, Joachim
Daun-Gruhn, Silvia
Title Quadrupedal gaits in hexapod animals–inter-leg coordination in free-walking adult stick insects
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication date 2012-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.073643
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 215
Start page 4255
End page 4266
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher The Company of Biologists
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The analysis of inter-leg coordination in insect walking is generally a study of six-legged locomotion. For decades, the stick insect Carausius morosus has been instrumental for unravelling the rules and mechanisms that control leg coordination in hexapeds. We analysed inter-leg coordination in C. morosus that freely walked on straight paths on plane surfaces with different slopes. Consecutive 1.7 s sections were assigned inter-leg coordination patterns (which we call gaits) based on footfall patterns. Regular gaits, i.e. wave, tetrapod or tripod gaits, occurred in different proportions depending on surface slopes. Tetrapod gaits were observed most frequently, wave gaits only occurred on 90 deg inclining slopes and tripod gaits occurred most often on 15 deg declining slopes, i.e. in 40% of the sections. Depending on the slope, 36–66% of the sections were assigned irregular gaits. Irregular gaits were mostly due to multiple stepping by the front legs, which is perhaps probing behaviour, not phase coupled to the middle legs’ cycles. In irregular gaits, middle leg and hindleg coordination was regular, related to quadrupedal walk and wave gaits. Apparently, front legs uncouple from and couple to the walking system without compromising middle leg and hindleg coordination. In front leg amputees, the remaining legs were strictly coordinated. In hindleg and middle leg amputees, the front legs continued multiple stepping. The coordination of middle leg amputees was maladapted, with front legs and hindlegs performing multiple steps or ipsilateral legs being in simultaneous swing. Thus, afferent information from middle legs might be necessary for a regular hindleg stepping pattern.
Keyword Locomotion
Inter-leg coordination
Stick insect
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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Created: Mon, 13 Mar 2017, 13:48:38 EST by Martyna Grabowska on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute