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Using a shell as a wing: pairing of dissimilar appendages in Atlantiid heteropod swimming.

A new interesting article has been published in J Exp Biol. 2018 Oct 22. pii: jeb.192062. doi: 10.1242/jeb.192062. [Epub ahead of print] and titled:

Using a shell as a wing: pairing of dissimilar appendages in Atlantiid heteropod swimming.

Authors of this article are:

Karakas F, D’Oliveira D, Maas AE, Murphy DW.

A summary of the article is shown below:

Atlantiid heteropods are zooplanktonic marine snails which have a calcium carbonate shell and single swimming fin. They actively swim to hunt prey and vertically migrate. Previous accounts of atlantiid heteropod swimming described these animals sculling with the swimming fin while the shell passively hung beneath the body. Here we show, via high speed stereophotogrammetric measurements of body, fin, and shell kinematics, that the atlantiid heteropod Atlanta selvagensis actively flaps both the swimming fin and shell in a highly coordinated wing-like manner in order to swim in the intermediate Reynolds number regime (Re=10-100). The fin and shell kinematics indicate that atlantiid heteropods use unsteady hydrodynamic mechanisms such as the clap and fling and delayed stall. Unique features of atlantid heteropod swimming include the coordinated pairing of dissimilar appendages, use of the clap and fling mechanism twice during each stroke cycle, and the fin’s extremely large stroke amplitude which exceeds 180°.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as:

Clap and Fling;Heteropod;Locomotion;Swimming;Zooplankton

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