A Year at the Forefront of Gliding Locomotion

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Company of Biologists

This review highlights the largely understudied behavior of gliding locomotion, which is exhibited by a diverse range of animals spanning vertebrates and invertebrates, in air and in water. The insights in the literature gained from January 2022 to December 2022 continue to challenge the previously held notion of gliding as a relatively simple form of locomotion. Using advances in field/lab data collection and computation, the highlighted studies cover gliding in animals including seabirds, flying lizards, flying snakes, geckos, dragonflies, damselflies, and dolphins. Altogether, these studies present gliding as a sophisticated behavior resulting from the interdependent aspects of morphology, sensing, environment, and likely selective pressures. This review uses these insights as inspiration to encourage researchers to revisit gliding locomotion, both in the animal's natural habitat and in the laboratory, and to investigate questions spanning gliding biomechanics, ecology, sensing, and the evolution of animal flight.

Animals, Aquatic, Flapping, Non-flapping, Hypothesis