Tail-flipping is a crucial escape locomotion of crustaceans which has been predicted to be limited by increased body mass (M(b)). Given isometric growth, one may predict that with growth event duration will decrease as M(b)(−)(1/3), translational distances will increase as M(b)(1/3), translational velocity will be independent of M(b), translational acceleration will decrease as M(b)(−)(1/3), angular displacement will be independent of M(b) and angular velocity and angular acceleration will decrease as M(b)(−)(1/3). We tested these hypotheses by examining the scaling of 12 morphological variables, five kinematic variables and six performance variables of tail-flipping by the California spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus. Growth approximated isometry, which validated the use of the proposed scaling hypotheses. For animals from 1 to 1000 g M(b), the predicted scaling relationships for tail-flip duration and translational distance and velocity variables were supported; however, translational acceleration performance was much better than predicted. Predictions for rotation and rotational velocity variables were not supported, while the rotational acceleration data closely matched the predicted relationship. The increase in tail-flip duration as predicted suggests that muscle shortening velocity decreases with growth; the sustained acceleration performance (similar to findings for shrimp and fish fast-starts) suggests that muscle force output may increase at a greater rate than predicted by isometry. The scaling of rotational acceleration indicates that the torque produced during the tail-flip scales with a mass exponent greater than 1. Comparison of the tail-flip performance of Panulirus interruptus with those of other crustacean species reveals a wide range in performance by animals of similar body size, which suggests that the abdominal muscle may show interesting differences in contractile properties among different species.

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