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Sensorimotor control in vertebrates relies on internal models. When extending an arm to reach for an object, the brain uses predictive models of both limb dynamics and target properties. Whether invertebrates use such models remains unclear. Here we examine to what extent prey interception by dragonflies (Plathemis lydia), a behaviour analogous to targeted(More)
Rolling locomotion using an external force such as gravity has evolved many times. However, some caterpillars can curl into a wheel and generate their own rolling momentum as part of an escape repertoire. This change in body conformation occurs well within 100 ms and generates a linear velocity over 0.2 m s(-1), making it one of the fastest self-propelled(More)
Muscular hydrostats (such as mollusks), and fluid-filled animals (such as annelids), can exploit their constant-volume tissues to transfer forces and displacements in predictable ways, much as articulated animals use hinges and levers. Although larval insects contain pressurized fluids, they also have internal air tubes that are compressible and, as a(More)
Caterpillars can increase their body mass 10,000-fold in 2 weeks. It is therefore remarkable that most caterpillars appear to maintain the same locomotion kinematics throughout their entire larval stage. This study examined how the body properties of a caterpillar might change to accommodate such dramatic changes in body load. Using Manduca sexta as a model(More)
This work is a synthesis of our current understanding of the mechanics, aerodynamics and visually mediated control of dragonfly and damselfly flight, with the addition of new experimental and computational data in several key areas. These are: the diversity of dragonfly wing morphologies, the aerodynamics of gliding flight, force generation in flapping(More)
Various flight navigation strategies for birds have been identified at the large spatial scales of migratory and homing behaviours. However, relatively little is known about close-range obstacle negotiation through cluttered environments. To examine obstacle flight guidance, we tracked pigeons (Columba livia) flying through an artificial forest of vertical(More)
The measurement of forces generated during locomotion is essential for the development of accurate mechanical models of animal movements. However, animals that lack a stiff skeleton tend to dissipate locomotor forces in large tissue deformation and most have complex or poorly defined substrate contacts. Under these conditions, measuring propulsive and(More)
The mechanical properties of soft tissues are important for the control of motion in many invertebrates. Pressurized cylindrical animals such as worms have circumferential reinforcement of the body wall; however, no experimental characterization of comparable anisotropy has been reported for climbing larvae such as caterpillars. Using uniaxial, real-time(More)
Soft animals move by controlling body deformation instead of actuated joints and they are able to exploit changes in conformation for different forms of locomotion. The goal of this study is to identify the key constraints in a soft-bodied animal and attempt to produce locomotion in a robotic platform with the same constraints. We first designed a soft(More)
Avian flight far exceeds our best aircraft control systems. We have conducted a series of experiments at the Concord Field Station demonstrating the extraordinary maneuverability of the common pigeon, showing it darting through tight spaces and recovering from large disturbances with ease. Our goal is to understand how to make small fixed-wing aircraft(More)