Sand swimming lizard: sandfish
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Maladen, Ryan D.; Ding, Yang; Kamor, Adam; Goldman, Daniel I.
We use high-speed x-ray imaging to reveal how a small (~10cm) desert dwelling lizard, the sandfish (Scincus scincus), swims within a granular medium . On the surface, the lizard uses a standard diagonal gait, but once below the surface, the organism no longer uses limbs for propulsion. Instead it propagates a large amplitude single period sinusoidal traveling wave down its body and tail to propel itself at speeds up to ~1.5 body-length/sec. Motivated by these experiments we study a numerical model of the sandfish as it swims within a validated soft sphere Molecular Dynamics granular media simulation. We use this model as a tool to understand dynamics like flow fields and forces generated as the animal swims within the granular media.  Maladen, R.D., Ding, Y., Li, C., and Goldman, D.I., Undulatory Swimming in Sand: Subsurface Locomotion of the Sandfish Lizard, Science, 325, 314, 2009
NSF Physics of Living Systems
undulatory locomotion; granular; swimming; simulation; high speed x-ray