Fast actions in small animals: Springs and click mechanisms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Small animals that jump or perform predatory strikes depend on much higher limb accelerations than larger animals. To overcome the temporal restrictions of muscle contraction, some arthropod muscles slowly load spring-like structures with potential energy. In flight, sound generation, jumping, or predatory strikes arthropods employ different strategies to transform muscular action to the desired movement. Click mechanisms control the frequency of oscillating spring - muscle systems while other accessory structures such as snap mechanism or latches with trigger muscles determine the stability and control the timing of the instantaneous discharge in catapult mechanisms. muscles which is somewhere between 1 ms and 20 ms (Huxley 1965, 1974). The present account explains how these small animals are able to cope with this dilemma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-734
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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