Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 107, Issue 5, pp 529–544 | Cite as

Where are we in understanding salamander locomotion: biological and robotic perspectives on kinematics

  • Konstantinos KarakasiliotisEmail author
  • Nadja Schilling
  • Jean-Marie Cabelguen
  • Auke Jan Ijspeert


Salamanders have captured the interest of biologists and roboticists for decades because of their ability to locomote in different environments and their resemblance to early representatives of tetrapods. In this article, we review biological and robotic studies on the kinematics (i.e., angular profiles of joints) of salamander locomotion aiming at three main goals: (i) to give a clear view of the kinematics, currently available, for each body part of the salamander while moving in different environments (i.e., terrestrial stepping, aquatic stepping, and swimming), (ii) to examine what is the status of our current knowledge and what remains unclear, and (iii) to discuss how much robotics and modeling have already contributed and will potentially contribute in the future to such studies.


Salamander Kinematics Walking  Swimming Salamander-like robots 



This work was funded by the EU within the FP7 project Lampetra. Robert Salzer and Rommy Petersohn helped with the X-ray recordings and Alexander Haas and Tamer Fawzy together with Felix Beckmann from the HASYLAB at the DESY in Hamburg (Germany) prepared the scans for the 3D reconstruction of the skeleton. This study was partly supported by the Center of Interdisciplinary Prevention of Diseases related to Professional Activities funded by the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and the Berufsgenossenschaft Nahrungsmittel und Gastgewerbe Erfurt (Germany). All experiments were carried out in accordance with the animal welfare guidelines of the state of Thuringia, Germany (Reg.-Nr. 02-042/09). Pleurodeles waltl is currently not endangered (IUCN status 2011: near threatened).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstantinos Karakasiliotis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nadja Schilling
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jean-Marie Cabelguen
    • 4
  • Auke Jan Ijspeert
    • 1
  1. 1.École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary BiologyFriedrich-Schiller-UniversityJenaGermany
  3. 3.University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation Small Animal ClinicHannoverGermany
  4. 4.Neurocentre Magendie INSERM U862Bordeaux UniversityBordeaux-cedexFrance

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