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J Insect Physiol. 2007 Jul;53(7):724-33. Epub 2007 Mar 31.

Walking in Aretaon asperrimus.

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Faculty of Biology, University of Bielefeld, Germany.


This article describes basic parameters characterizing walking of the stick insect Aretaon asperrimus to allow a comparative approach with other insects studied. As in many other animals, geometrical parameters such as step amplitude and leg extreme positions do not vary with walking velocity. However, the relation between swing duration and stance duration is quite constant, in contrast to most insects studied. Therefore, velocity profiles during swing vary with walking velocity whereas time course of leg trajectories and leg angle trajectories are independent of walking velocity. Nevertheless, A. asperrimus does not show a classical tripod gait, but performs a metachronal, or tetrapod, gait, showing phase values differing from 0.5 between ipsilateral neighbouring legs. As in Carausius morosus, the detailed shape of the swing trajectory may depend on the form of the substrate. Effects describing coordinating influences between legs have been found that prevent the start of a swing as long as the posterior leg performs a swing. Further, the treading on tarsus reflex can be observed in Aretaon. No hint to the existence of a targeting influence has been found. Control of rearward walking is easiest interpreted by maintaining the basic rules but an anterior-posterior reversal of the information flow.

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