Insects alter their walking pattern in order to respond to demands of an ever-changing environment, such as varying ground surface textures. They also exhibit resilient and flexible ability to retain the capacity to walk even after substantial changes in their body properties, e.g. leg amputation. While the motor control paradigm governing the inter-leg coordination in such adaptive walking has been extensively described in past studies, the mechanism remains unknown. Here, we examined this question by using the cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus), which shows a tetrapod/tripod gait on a flat surfaces, like many other insects. We performed leg amputation experiments to investigate modifications of leg movements and coordination of muscle activities. We simultaneously recorded (1) the leg movements, locomotion velocity, and body rotation and (2) the leg movements and leg muscles activities before and after leg amputation. Crickets displayed adaptive coordination of leg movement patterns in response to amputations. The activation timings of levator muscles in both middle legs tended to synchronize in phase when both legs were amputated at the coxatrochanteral joint. This supports the hypothesis that an intrinsic contralateral connection within the mesothoracic ganglion exists, and that mechanosensory feedback from the legs override this connection, resulting in the anti-phase movement of a normal gait.
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