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Journal of Experimental Biology








Although steady swimming has received considerable attention in prior studies, unsteady swimming movements represent a larger portion of many aquatic animals' locomotive repertoire and have not been examined extensively. Squids and cuttlefishes are cephalopods with unique muscular hydrostat-driven, dual-mode propulsive systems involving paired fins and a pulsed jet. These animals exhibit a wide range of swimming behavior, but turning performance has not been examined quantitatively. Brief squid, Lolliguncula brevis, and dwarf cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis, were filmed during turns using high-speed cameras. Kinematic features were tracked, including the length-specific radius of the turn (R/L), a measure of maneuverability, and angular velocity (ω), a measure of agility. Both L. brevis and S. bandensis demonstrated high maneuverability, with (R/L)min values of 3.4x10(-3)+/- 5.9x10(-4) and 1.2x10(-3)+/- 4.7x10(-4) (mean +/- s.e.m.), respectively, which are the lowest measures of R/L reported for any aquatic taxa. Lolliguncula brevis exhibited higher agility than S. bandensisa,max=725.8 versus 485.0 deg s-1), and both cephalopods have intermediate agility when compared with flexible-bodied and rigid-bodied nekton of similar size, reflecting their hybrid body architecture. In L. brevis, jet flows were the principal driver of angular velocity. Asymmetric fin motions played a reduced role, and arm wrapping increased turning performance to varying degrees depending on the species. This study indicates that coordination between the jet and fins is important for turning performance, with L. brevis achieving faster turns than S. bandensis and S. bandensis achieving tighter, more controlled turns than L. brevis.

Original Publication Citation

Jastrebsky, R. A., Bartol, I. K., & Krueger, P. S. (2016). Turning performance in squid and cuttlefish: Unique dual-mode, muscular hydrostatic systems. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219(9), 1317-1326. doi:10.1242/jeb.126839