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J Exp Biol. 2000 Nov;203(Pt 22):3391-6.

Does a rigid body limit maneuverability?

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL 60605, USA.


Whether a rigid body limits maneuverability depends on how maneuverability is defined. By the current definition, the minimum radius of the turn, a rigid-bodied, spotted boxfish Ostracion meleagris approaches maximum maneuverability, i.e. it can spin around with minimum turning radii near zero. The radius of the minimum space required to turn is an alternative measure of maneuverability. By this definition, O. meleagris is not very maneuverable. The observed space required by O. meleagris to turn is slightly greater than its theoretical minimum but much greater than that of highly flexible fish. Agility, the rate of turning, is related to maneuverability. The median- and pectoral-fin-powered turns of O. meleagris are slow relative to the body- and caudal-fin-powered turns of more flexible fish.

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