Skip to main content

Analysis code and data for the morphometrics and kinematics of tube feet

Cite this dataset

McHenry, Matthew (2024). Analysis code and data for the morphometrics and kinematics of tube feet [Dataset]. Dryad.


Hydrostatic skeletons, such as an elephant trunk or a squid tentacle, permit the transmission of mechanical work through a soft body. Despite the ubiquity of these structures among animals, we generally do not understand how differences in their morphology affect their mechanical properties. Therefore, the present study used mathematical modeling, morphometrics, and kinematics to understand the transmission of force and displacement in the tube feet of the juvenile six-rayed star Leptasterias sp. An inverse-dynamic analysis revealed that the forces generated by the feet during crawling primarily serve to overcome the submerged weight of the body. This load was disproportionately generated by the feet at more proximal positions along each ray, which were used more frequently for crawling. Due to a combination of mechanical advantage and muscle mass, these proximal feet exhibited a greater capacity for force generation than the distal feet. However, the higher displacement advantage of the more elongated distal feet offer a superior ability to extend the feet into the environment. Therefore, the morphology of tube feet demonstrates a gradient in gearing along each ray that matches their role in behavior.

README: Analysis code and data for the morphometrics and kinematics of tube feet


The MATLAB code for data analysis and aquisition are provided in the following zip archives.

  • morphometrics_code - Contains the matlab code for analzing the morphometrics ("ana_morph.m"), using the parmeter values stored in morphData.m.
  • seastar_kine - Acquisition and analysis of kinematics, performed over numerous .m files. Acquisition begins at "acqMaster.m" and anlaysis starts at "anaMaster.m". See annotations within the individual files for their specific functions.

Data files

Files in the Data folder are separated into the following folders:

  • Kinematics:files are further divided by horizontal and inverted (i.e., upside-down) crawling. For each individual, kinematics are stored for both horizontal and oral views. The mat file "All sequences.mat" contains the kinematic measurements for all sequences.
  • Morphometrics: Contains the raw histological images used as a basis for morphometric measurements. These are oragnized according to the plane through which the sections were made (i.e., Coronal and Saggital planes).


As detailed in the manuscript, the morphometrics were obtained from measurements of histological sections. The kinematics measurements were performed from video recordings of locomotion from lateral and oral views of the animals. 


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-2034043, IOS

Office of Naval Research, Award: N00014-17-1-2062