Nienke N. Bijma, Stanislav N. Gorb
Locomotion is the result of a complex interplay between an animal and its environment. To understand how dung beetles walk over complex and uneven terrain or how they perform complex behaviour such as building and rolling dung balls, we investigate the biomechanical and morphological design features allowing dung beetles to exhibit such a complex behavioural repertoire. Besides the influence of the animal morphology on the locomotion, we also consider the effect of surface characteristics on locomotion.
To understand how the locomotor system of a dung beetle is adapted to specific tasks, we study external characters of the body and the legs (shortening, elongation or fusion of segments and the presence of supplementary structures such as claws or spines) as well as internal structures (orientation of rotational axes and muscular arrangement). Based on those results we can understand how those key principles of the locomotor system are used during specific behaviours.