Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A unique form of locomotion in a stomatopod—backward somersaulting

Abstract

Of the diversity of forms of locomotion evolved by life on Earth, one that seems not to have developed to any great extent is rolling or somersaulting. Many cultures claim the existence of ‘hoop snakes’ that grasp their tails in their mouths and roll downhill, but no known snake can perform this feat1. Furthermore, although at least one spider (Hamilton, personal communication) when disturbed forms its body and legs into a sphere and rolls down sand dunes, I have been unable to find examples of animals that roll uphill or even over level terrain. Various coelenterates such as Hydra and some sea anemones somersault slowly across the substrate by alternating attachment of the pedal disk and tentacles. However, with the exception of human gymnasts and other playful primates, I report here a unique form of locomotion found in the stomatopod Nannosquilla decemspinosa (Rathbun, 1910) that consists of a rapid series of backward somersaults.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Gardner, M. Scient. Am. 238, 18–24 (1978).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Manning, R. B. Stomatopod Crustacea of the Western Atlantic (University of Miami Press, Coral Gables, 1969).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Caldwell, R. A unique form of locomotion in a stomatopod—backward somersaulting. Nature 282, 71–73 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1038/282071a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing