In treadwheel walking, the front and middle legs of the stick insect (Carausius morosus) propel the wheel, while the hind legs exert very little force and can even decelerate the wheel. This result is compared with observations on the function of the legs in different walking situations.

Several hypotheses assuming different types of position servo-mechanisms have been proposed in the literature on the control of leg movement during walking in insects. The experimental results support none of these hypotheses. Instead, they indicate that velocity rather than position is the variable controlled during the stance phase.

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