The mechanisms by which the legs of a stick insect influence one another during walking were investigated by running the animals on a horizontal plane covered with a thin film of silicone oil to prevent mechanical coupling between the legs. Coupling between ipsilateral legs was investigated by interrupting the retraction (power stroke) of a leg for a short time and observing how the legs return to normal coordination following this disturbance.

The results show that three ipsilateral coupling mechanisms exist: (a) a forwarddirected influence that inhibits the start of a protraction of the leg as long as the posterior leg is performing a protraction; (b) a forward-directed influence that excites the start of a protraction of the leg when the posterior leg starts a retraction movement; (c) a backward-directed influence that excites the start of a protraction, the influence being stronger the further the anterior leg has moved backwards during its retraction. The latter influence depends on the position but not the phase of the anterior leg.

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