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The Neurobiology of an Insect Brain$
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Malcolm Burrows

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523444.001.0001

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Walking Walking

Walking Walking

Chapter:
(p.326) 8 Walking
Source:
The Neurobiology of an Insect Brain
Author(s):

Malcolm Burrows

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523444.003.0008

The disparate sizes of their three pairs of legs would seem to make locusts more rationally designed for moving forward in a series of hops or jumps rather than in a steady progression by walking; the hind legs are greatly enlarged and specialised for jumping and even the middle legs are some 1.2 times larger than the front ones. Locusts, nevertheless, can still walk well at stepping rates of 1–4 Hz with a tripod gait typical of that used by most other insects. There is no transition of the gait that would indicate walking changing into running, but instead forward speed, particularly of the larvae, is increased by a change to hopping propelled by the simultaneous extension of the large hind legs. Locusts are renowned for the awesome invasions of vegetation by marching bands of gregarious larvae in which the individuals can walk and hop for many kilometres.

Keywords:   walking, jumping, locusts, middle legs, hind legs, forward movement

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