Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared to gregarious desert locusts, (Schistocerca gregaria)

Rogers, SM and Riley, J and Brighton, C and Sutton, Gregory and Burrows, M (2016) Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared to gregarious desert locusts, (Schistocerca gregaria). Journal of Experimental Biology, 219 (5). pp. 635-648. ISSN UNSPECIFIED

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.134445

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Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared to gregarious desert locusts, (Schistocerca gregaria)
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Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared to gregarious desert locusts, (Schistocerca gregaria)
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Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared to gregarious desert locusts, (Schistocerca gregaria)
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Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared to gregarious desert locusts, (Schistocerca gregaria)
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Increased muscular volume and cuticular specialisations enhance jump velocity in solitarious compared to gregarious desert locusts, (Schistocerca gregaria)
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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

The Desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria shows a strong phenotypic plasticity. It can develop, depending upon population density, into either a solitarious or gregarious phase that differ in many aspects of their behaviour, physiology and morphology. Prominent amongst these differences is that solitarious locusts have proportionately longer hind femora than gregarious locusts. The hind femora contain the muscles and energy-storing cuticular structures that propel powerful jumps using a catapult-like mechanism. We show that solitarious locusts jump on average 23% faster and 27% further than gregarious locusts and attribute this improved performance arises to three sources: first, a 17.5% increase in the relative volume of their hind femur, hence muscle volume; second, a 24.3% decrease in the stiffness of the energy-storing semi-lunar processes of the distal femur; third a 4.5% decrease in the stiffness of the tendon of the extensor tibiae muscle. These differences mean that solitarious locusts can generate more power and store more energy in preparation for a jump than can gregarious locusts. This improved performance comes at a cost: solitarious locusts expend nearly twice the energy of gregarious locusts during a single jump and the muscular co-contraction which energises the cuticular springs takes twice as long. There is thus a trade-off between achieving maximum jump velocity in the solitarious phase against the ability to engage jumping rapidly and repeatedly in the gregarious phase.

Keywords:jumping, locust, grasshopper, phase change
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B830 Biomechanics, Biomaterials and Prosthetics (non-clinical)
C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:36197
Deposited On:17 Jun 2019 14:59

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