Is the energetics of mammalian hopping locomotion advantageous in arid environments?

Koa N. Webster, Terence J. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Although hopping is a relatively rare mammalian gait, hopping mammals are common in arid environments. Arid environments are open, with patchy resources, and the widespread use of hopping by arid zone mammals appears to be related to the benefits of fast locomotion. In several species, fast hopping is economical in comparison to fast quadrupedal running. These hopping species can reach greater maximum aerobic speeds than similarly sized runners. Faster locomotion can reduce predation risk and increase opportunities to exploit open microhabitats. More economical locomotion may improve a hopping mammal's ability to adopt alternative foraging strategies. The disadvantages of hopping include an increased cost of slow locomotion, reduced manoeuvrability at slow speeds and reduced ability to exploit densely vegetated patches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Mammalogy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Arid-zone
  • Bettong
  • Energetics
  • Hopping
  • Kangaroo
  • Locomotion
  • Potoroo
  • Rodent
  • wallaby


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