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Journal of Experimental Biology partnership with Dryad

Just drop it and run: the effect of limb autotomy on running distance and locomotion energetics of field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus)
Patricia A. Fleming, Philip W. Bateman


This is the first study to examine the direct metabolic costs of autotomy, the voluntary shedding of an appendage as an escape mechanism, in invertebrates. We investigated the effects of limb autotomy upon endurance and metabolic cost of locomotion in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Compared with control (intact) crickets, animals that had autotomised a single hindlimb were slower, stopped more often, moved a shorter distance and expended more energy doing so. Both the cost of locomotion (COT) and minimal cost of locomotion (MCOT) were significantly higher for autotomised animals. We compare these data with locomotion energetics of 36 other invertebrate species, and discuss the results in terms of the biomechanics of walking in crickets.

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