The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning

Dürr V, Ebeling W (2005)
Journal of Experimental Biology 208(12): 2237-2252.

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The control of locomotion requires the ability to adapt movement sequences to the behavioural context of the animal. In hexapod walking, adaptive behavioural transitions require orchestration of at least 18 leg joints and twice as many muscle groups. Although kinematics of locomotion has been studied in several arthropod species and in a range of different behaviours, almost nothing is known about the transition from one behavioural state to another. Implicitly, most studies on context-dependency assume that all parameters that undergo a change during a behavioural transition do so at the same rate. The present study tests this assumption by analysing the sequence of kinematic events during turning of the stick insect Carausius morosus, and by measuring how the time courses of the changing parameters differ between legs. Turning was triggered reliably at a known instant in time by means of the optomotor response to large-field visual motion. Thus, knowing the start point of the transition, the kinematic parameters that initiate turning could be ranked according to their time constants. Kinematics of stick insect walking vary considerably among trials and within trials. As a consequence, the behavioural states of straight walking and curve walking are described by the distributions of 13 kinematic parameters per leg and of orientation angles of head and antennae. The transitions between the behavioural states are then characterised by the fraction of the variance within states by which these distributions differ, and by the rate of change of the corresponding time courses. The antennal optomotor response leads that of the locomotor system. Visually elicited turning is shown to be initiated by stance direction changes of both front legs. The transition from straight to curve walking in stick insects follows different time courses for different legs, with time constants of kinematic parameters ranging from 1.7 s to more than 3 s. Therefore, turning is a behavioural transition that involves a characteristic orchestration of events rather than synchronous parallel actions with a single time constant.
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Dürr V, Ebeling W. The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning. Journal of Experimental Biology. 2005;208(12):2237-2252.
Dürr, V., & Ebeling, W. (2005). The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning. Journal of Experimental Biology, 208(12), 2237-2252.
Dürr, V., and Ebeling, W. (2005). The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning. Journal of Experimental Biology 208, 2237-2252.
Dürr, V., & Ebeling, W., 2005. The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning. Journal of Experimental Biology, 208(12), p 2237-2252.
V. Dürr and W. Ebeling, “The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning”, Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 208, 2005, pp. 2237-2252.
Dürr, V., Ebeling, W.: The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning. Journal of Experimental Biology. 208, 2237-2252 (2005).
Dürr, Volker, and Ebeling, W. “The behavioural transition from straight to curve walking: kinetics of leg movement parameters and the initiation of turning”. Journal of Experimental Biology 208.12 (2005): 2237-2252.
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