Abstract

Introduction: The locomotion behavior of an organism involves the integration of aspects like body symmetry, sensory and locomotor systems. Furthermore, various ecological factors seem to be related to locomotion characteristics, such as foraging strategy, migration trends, response to predators and competitors, and environmental stress. Objective: To analyze locomotion and the influence of body symmetry in the crawling and righting movements of the sea star Asterina stellifera. Methods: We carried out laboratory experiments in aquariums in the presence/absence of water current and on a horizontal and vertical surface. Results: The speed is similar to speed in other species of similar size. Both the speed and linearity of displacement were independent of individual body size. A water current leads to faster crawling and straight paths, but there is no rheotaxis: streams do not affect locomotion. Speed and linearity of displacement were independent of individual body size. The displacement pattern described here may be an adaptation of organisms that present dense populations in communities with high prey abundance, as is the case of A. stellifera. Conclusions: Like other asteroids, this species did not show an Anterior/Posterior plane of symmetry during locomotion, or righting movement: it does not tend to bilaterality.

Keywords: crawling; orientation; bilaterality; Asteroidea; rheotaxis; gravitaxis.