A new galloping gait in an insect

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


An estimated three million insect species all walk using variations
of the alternating tripod gait. At any one time, these animals hold one stable triangle of legs steady while swinging the opposite triangle forward. Here, we report the discovery that three different
flightless desert dung beetles use an additional gallop-like gait, which has never been described in any insect before. Like a bounding hare, the beetles propel their body forward by synchronously stepping with both middle legs and then both front legs. Surprisingly, this peculiar galloping gait delivers lower speeds than the alternating tripod gait. Why these beetles have shifted so radically away from the most widely used walking style on our planet is as yet unknown.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology


  • desert, insect gaits, locomotion, dung beetles
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R913-R915
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

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