A paper by Leszek Rychlik (Department of Systematic Zoology) and collaborators (from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris) appeared in the Journal of Zoology. The authors, for the first time, analysed arboreal locomotion in acacia rats (Thallomys paedulcus) and found that the rodents were able to competently move on relatively narrow substrates (5 mm). Acacia rats employed slow, symmetrical gaits with lower diagonality on the smaller substrates (providing stability), which were progressively substituted by faster, asymmetrical half-bounding gaits on larger substrates. Velocity was regulated more by stride frequency than stride length. The morpho-behavioural adaptations enable acacia rats to exploit acacia trees for foraging, nesting and protection from predators.
The paper is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jzo.12473/full