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A Journal of Integrative Biology Kinematics of Level Terrestrial and Underwater Walking
 

Summary: A Journal of Integrative Biology
Kinematics of Level Terrestrial and Underwater Walking
in the California Newt, Taricha torosa
MIRIAM A. ASHLEY-ROSS√, REBECCA LUNDIN, AND KRISTY L. JOHNSON
Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
ABSTRACT Salamanders are acknowledged to be the closest postural model of early tetrapods
and are capable of walking both in a terrestrial environment and while submerged under water.
Nonetheless, locomotion in this group is poorly understood, as is underwater pedestrian locomotion
in general. We, therefore, quantified the movements of the body axis and limbs of the California
newt, Taricha torosa, during steady-speed walking in two environments, both of which presented a
level surface: a treadmill and a trackway that was submerged in an aquarium. For treadmill walking
at a relative speed of 0.63 snout≠vent lengths (SVL)/sec, newts used a diagonal couplets lateral
sequence walk with a duty factor of 77%. In contrast, submerged speeds were nearly twice as fast,
with a mean of 1.19 SVL/sec. The submerged gait pattern was closer to a trot, with a duty factor of
only 41%, including periods of suspension. Environment appears to play a critical role in
determining gait differences, with reduction of drag being one of the most important determinants
in increasing duration of the swing phase. Quantitative analysis of limb kinematics showed that
underwater strides were more variable than terrestrial ones, but overall were strikingly similar
between the two environments, with joint movement reversals occurring at similar points in the step
cycle. It is suggested that the fundamental walking pattern appears to function well under multiple

  

Source: Ashley-Ross, Miriam A. - Department of Biology, Wake Forest University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine