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On exploration of geometrically constrained space by medicinal leeches Hirudo verbana

Adamatzky, Andrew



© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Leeches are fascinating creatures: they have simple modular nervous circuitry yet exhibit a rich spectrum of behavioural modes. Leeches could be ideal blue-prints for designing flexible soft robots which are modular, multi-functional, fault-tolerant, easy to control, capable for navigating using optical, mechanical and chemical sensorial inputs, have autonomous inter-segmental coordination and adaptive decision-making. With future designs of leech-robots in mind we study how leeches behave in geometrically constrained spaces. Core results of the paper deal with leeches exploring a row of rooms arranged along a narrow corridor. In laboratory experiments we find that rooms closer to ends of the corridor are explored by leeches more often than rooms in the middle of the corridor. Also, in series of scoping experiments, we evaluate leeches capabilities to navigating in mazes towards sources of vibration and chemo-attraction. We believe our results lay foundation for future developments of robots mimicking behaviour of leeches.


Adamatzky, A. (2015). On exploration of geometrically constrained space by medicinal leeches Hirudo verbana. BioSystems, 130, 28-36.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2015
Deposit Date Sep 25, 2015
Journal BioSystems
Print ISSN 0303-2647
Electronic ISSN 1872-8324
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 130
Pages 28-36
Keywords medicinal leech, space exploration, maze navigation, bio-robotics
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