Burst-and-coast swimmers optimize gait by adapting unique intrinsic cycle

Gen Li, Intesaaf Ashraf, Bill François, Dmitry Kolomenskiy, Frédéric Lechenault, Ramiro Godoy-Diana, Benjamin Thiria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the physical mechanism of intermittent swimming by considering the burst-and-coast regime of fish swimming at different speeds. The burst-and-coast regime consists of a cycle with two successive phases, i.e., a phase of active undulation powered by the fish muscles followed by a passive gliding phase. Observations of real fish whose swimming gait is forced in a water flume from low to high speed regimes are performed, using a full description of the fish kinematics and mechanics. We first show that fish modulate a unique intrinsic cycle to sustain the demanded speed by modifying the bursting to coasting ratio while maintaining the duration of the cycle nearly constant. Secondly, we show using numerical simulations that the chosen kinematics by correspond to optimized gaits for swimming speeds larger than 1 body length per second.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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