Balances of multiple varying forces must be the basis for the unusually great dynamic stability of swimming pufferfishes. We used high-speed digital video recordings to study biomechanics and kinematics of rectilinear swimming at different speeds of five porcupine puffers in a water tunnel. We measured critical swimming speeds (U crit); fin biomechanics, kinematics, and coordination; recoil movements; and gait changes. Major propulsors were pectoral fins at lower speeds; dorsal, anal, and caudal fins at higher speeds. Precise coordination of fin movements produced small recoil movements at speeds below U crit. The unusual body shape probably contributes to unconscious stability control.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 21, 2007
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