Animal Movement

Cobra: wave motion

Importance of Animal Movement

Animals can move in many ways. Some species can perform more than one type of movement, while others have the ability to move in only one way. Movement is extremely important for most animal species because through it they can fetch food and water, evade predators, and migrate to environments more suited to maintaining life and reproduction.

Main types of animal movement:


Form used by most land animals. It occurs with the use of the locomotion system (legs, arms, feet, hands and paws). It is a type of movement most common among vertebrates, including humans. Bones and muscles are extremely important in this type of locomotion.

Examples of animals: human, lion, monkey, horse, fox, tiger, lizard, jabuti, bear, cat, dog, etc.


Movement system used mainly by aquatic animals (living in the sea, rivers and lakes). In this type of movement, fins and fins are used. Some animals, such as squids and octopuses, use the tentacles to swim.

Examples: fish, whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, octopuses, etc.

Ciliary movement

It occurs through the beating of eyelashes. It is mainly used by unicellular beings (microorganisms) living in an environment with water.

Examples: paramecium, urostyla, euplotes, among others.

Flagellar movement

Some animal species, known as flagellates, have flagella in the body, using them for movement. Protozoa, for example, have this type of movement.

Examples: giardia lamblia, leishmania braziliensis and trypanosoma cruzi.

Longitudinal movement

It occurs through wave muscle movements (contraction and relaxation) performed by body segments.

Examples: earthworm and slug.


Mainly used by octopuses when there is a need for rapid displacement (predator escape, for example). In this system, the animal accumulates water inside a kind of bag. When water is released at once, a jet propels the animal quickly.

Example: Octopus

Wave motion

In this type, the animal moves its body from side to side, making curves in the ground or water. With these repetitive and synchronized movements, the animal can move.

Examples: snakes and snakes.


Some species use the jump to move around. In frogs and frogs, for example, there is the use of the hind legs (with proper musculature) to propel the body.

Fleas also use jumping as a form of movement, but the system is different. These insects have a flexible material in the legs. When compressed, they propel the animal's body to perform the jump.