Kinematics of quadrupedal locomotion in sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps): effects of age and substrate size

Title

Kinematics of quadrupedal locomotion in sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps): effects of age and substrate size

Creator

Shapiro L J; Young J W

Publisher

Journal of Experimental Biology

Date

2012
2012-02

Description

Arboreal mammals face unique challenges to locomotor stability. This is particularly true with respect to juveniles, who must navigate substrates similar to those traversed by adults, despite a reduced body size and neuromuscular immaturity. Kinematic differences exhibited by juveniles and adults on a given arboreal substrate could therefore be due to differences in body size relative to substrate size, to differences in neuromuscular development, or to both. We tested the effects of relative body size and age on quadrupedal kinematics in a small arboreal marsupial (the sugar glider, Petaurus breviceps; body mass range of our sample 33-97 g). Juvenile and adult P. breviceps were filmed moving across a flat board and three poles 2.5, 1.0 and 0.5 cm in diameter. Sugar gliders (regardless of age or relative speed) responded to relative decreases in substrate diameter with kinematic adjustments that promote stability; they increased duty factor, increased the average number of supporting limbs during a stride, increased relative stride length and decreased relative stride frequency. Limb phase increased when moving from the flat board to the poles, but not among poles. Compared with adults, juveniles (regardless of relative body size or speed) used lower limb phases, more pronounced limb flexion, and enhanced stability with higher duty factors and a higher average number of supporting limbs during a stride. We conclude that although substrate variation in an arboreal environment presents similar challenges to all individuals, regardless of age or absolute body size, neuromuscular immaturity confers unique problems to growing animals, requiring kinematic compensation.

Subject

arboreal locomotion; Arboreality; baboons papio-cynocephalus; cebus-apella; diagonal-sequence walking; Gait; Kinematics; Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics; life-history; limb mass-distribution; Marsupials; monkeys; monkeys saimiri-boliviensis; ontogeny; postnatal-development; Quadrupedalism; symmetrical gaits; vervet

Identifier

Format

Journal Article

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Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

480-496

Issue

3

Volume

215

Citation

Shapiro L J; Young J W, “Kinematics of quadrupedal locomotion in sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps): effects of age and substrate size,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed April 12, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/7151.

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