Analysis Of The Crested And Gargoyle Geckos' Locomotion And Toepad Activity On Horizontal And Vertical Poles Of Varying Thickness
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Various morphological traits and behaviors have evolved to facilitate a gecko's ability to climb vertically. The gecko relies on the structural elements of its toepads to maximize adhesive force and enable easy release from the substrate. Thus, toepad adhesion plays an important role in the locomotive behavior of the gecko and influences how it maximizes adhesion efficiency. The change from a horizontal surface to an incline prompts the geckos to alter their gaits to deploy their adhesive system which accommodates for the different gravitational and frictional forces acting on them. Current research on geckos has looked at gecko toepad properties and locomotion on flat surfaces, but there has been little to no research on how gecko locomotion compensates for the unique challenges of walking on curved surfaces. By analyzing the locomotion on poles (of varying thickness) for two species of geckos, Rhacodactylus auriculatus and the Correlophus ciliates, this study found that both the stride lengths and frequencies decreased as the diameter of the pole decreased, indicating that shorter, slower steps help the animal maintain balance. The gecko's body also moves closer to the surface of the substrate for increased stability while the tail acts as a fifth appendage when necessary.