Van De Kamp T., Dos Santos Rolo T., Vagovic P., Baumbach T., Riedel A.
in PLoS ONE, 9 (2014), e102355. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0102355
Digital surface mesh models based on segmented datasets have become an integral part of studies on animal anatomy and functional morphology; usually, they are published as static images, movies or as interactive PDF files. We demonstrate the use of animated 3D models embedded in PDF documents, which combine the advantages of both movie and interactivity, based on the example of preserved Trigonopterus weevils. The method is particularly suitable to simulate joints with largely deterministic movements due to precise form closure. We illustrate the function of an individual screw-and-nut type hip joint and proceed to the complex movements of the entire insect attaining a defence position. This posture is achieved by a specific cascade of movements: Head and legs interlock mutually and with specific features of thorax and the first abdominal ventrite, presumably to increase the mechanical stability of the beetle and to maintain the defence position with minimal muscle activity. The deterministic interaction of accurately fitting body parts follows a defined sequence, which resembles a piece of engineering. © 2014 van de Kamp et al.