The effects of incline (vertical versus horizontal) on spatio-temporal gait characteristics (stride and step length, frequency, duty factor, degree of sprawling) were measured over a range of speeds in a ground-dwelling (Eublepharis macularius) and a climbing (Gekko gecko) species of gecko. Surprisingly, the climbing species also performs very well when moving on the horizontal substratum. In the present experiments, climbing speeds ranged from 0.6 to 1.2 m s(−)(1), whereas speeds for level locomotion were between 0.6 and 1.8 m s(−)(1). In contrast, the vertical climbing capacities of the ground-dweller are limited (speeds below 0.1 m s(−)(1)versus level speeds between 0.2 and 1.1 m s(−)(1)). In general, we demonstrate that very little adjustment in gait characteristics is made by either species when they are forced to move on their non-habitual substratum. Moreover, gait characteristics differ little between the species despite the clear differences in ecological niche. Higher level or climbing speeds are realized mainly (or exclusively in the case of level locomotion in G. gecko) by increasing stride frequency. Stride lengths and duty factors vary with speed in the ground-dweller, but not in the climbing species. Step length and the degree of sprawling are speed-independent (except for hind-limb sprawling in G. gecko on the level). It is argued that this common strategy suits climbing (fixed spatial variables, no floating phases) rather than level locomotion.
Spatio-temporal gait characteristics of level and vertical locomotion in a ground-dwelling and a climbing gecko
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A. Zaaf, R. Van Damme, A. Herrel, P. Aerts; Spatio-temporal gait characteristics of level and vertical locomotion in a ground-dwelling and a climbing gecko. J Exp Biol 1 April 2001; 204 (7): 1233–1246. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.204.7.1233
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