Although the red-legged running frog Kassina maculata is secondarily a walker/runner, it retains the capacity for multiple locomotor modes, including jumping at a wide range of angles (nearly 70°). Using simultaneous hind limb kinematics and single-foot ground reaction forces, we performed inverse dynamics analyses to calculate moment arms and torques about the hind limb joints during jumping at different angles in K. maculata. We show that forward thrust is generated primarily at the hip and ankle, while body elevation is primarily driven by the ankle. Steeper jumps are achieved by increased thrust at the hip and ankle and greater downward rotation of the distal limb segments. Due to its proximity to the GRF vector, knee posture appears to be important in controlling torque directions about this joint and, potentially, torque magnitudes at more distal joints. Other factors correlated with higher jump angles include increased body angle in the preparatory phase, faster joint openings and increased joint excursion, higher ventrally-directed force, and greater acceleration and velocity. Finally, we demonstrate that jumping performance in K. maculata does not appear to be compromised by presumed adaptation to walking/running. Our results provide new insights into how frogs engage in a wide range of locomotor behaviours and the multi-functionality of anuran limbs.
- Received December 22, 2016.
- Accepted March 2, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd