Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 229–246

A dynamic model of thoracic differentiation for the control of turning in the stick insect

Original Paper


Leg movements of stick insects (Carausius morosus) making turns towards visual targets are examined in detail, and a dynamic model of this behaviour is proposed. Initial results suggest that front legs shape most of the body trajectory, while the middle and hind legs just follow external forces (Rosano H, Webb B, in The control of turning in real and simulated stick insects, vol. 4095, pp 145–156, 2006). However, some limitations of this explanation and dissimilarities in the turning behaviour of the insect and the model were found. A second set of behavioural experiments was made by blocking front tarsi to further investigate the active role of the other legs for the control of turning. The results indicate that it is necessary to have different roles for each pair of legs to replicate insect behaviour. We demonstrate that the rear legs actively rotate the body while the middle legs move sideways tangentially to the hind inner leg. Furthermore, we show that on average the middle inner and hind outer leg contribute to turning while the middle outer leg and hind inner leg oppose body rotation. These behavioural results are incorporated into a 3D dynamic robot simulation. We show that the simulation can now replicate more precisely the turns made by the stick insect.


Stick insect Dynamic model Simulation Robot Turning Curve walking Locomotion 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edinburgh UniversityEdinburghUK

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