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The Locomotion of Arthropods


I HAVE been making some observations on the locomotion of various insects, and find that in the case of those which move quickly the best method for observation is instantaneous photography. Instantaneous photographs of moving flies show that they move the front and hind leg of one side almost simultaneously with the middle leg of the other, while they stand on the other three. When the tripod which is moving has come to the ground, the other tripod is raised, and so on. The photographs show, however, that while no leg of one tripod ever moves simultaneously with any leg of the other, yet there is a succession in the movements of the legs of each tripod. The hind leg on one side is first moved, then the middle on the other, and when the hind leg has been moved forward and almost reached the ground, the front leg of that side is raised. The middle leg and the front leg of the opposite sides come to the ground almost simultaneously. It is usually just when the hind leg is reaching the ground, and the front leg is being raised, that the tripod on which the fly is resting thrusts the body forward. After the movement of each tripod there appears to be a short pause, during which all six legs are on the ground together.

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DIXON, H. The Locomotion of Arthropods. Nature 43, 223–224 (1891).

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