Leg coordination during turning on an extremely narrow substrate in a bug, Mesocerus marginatus (Heteroptera, Coreidae)

J Insect Physiol. 2005 Oct;51(10):1092-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2005.05.008. Epub 2005 Sep 12.


The turning movement of a bug, Mesocerus marginatus, is observed when it walks upside-down below a horizontal beam and, at the end of the beam, performs a sharp turn by 180 degrees . The turn at the end of the beam is accomplished in three to five steps, without strong temporal coordination among legs. During the stance, leg endpoints (tarsi) run through rounded trajectories, rotating to the same side in all legs. During certain phases of the turn, a leg is strongly depressed and the tarsus crosses the midline. Swing movements rotate to the same side as do leg endpoints in stance, in strong contrast to the typical swing movements found in turns or straight walk on a flat surface. Terminal location is found after the search through a trajectory that first moves away from the body and then loops back to find substrate. When a leg during stance has crossed the midline, in the following swing movement the leg may move even stronger on the contralateral side, i.e. is stronger depressed, in contrast to swing movements in normal walking, where the leg is elevated. These results suggest that the animals apply a different control strategy compared to walking and turning on a flat surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Extremities / physiology
  • Heteroptera / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology