Kinesis (biology)

Woodlouse activity decreases as humidity increases.

Kinesis, like a taxis or tropism, is a movement or activity of a cell or an organism in response to a stimulus (such as gas exposure, light intensity or ambient temperature).

Unlike taxis, the response to the stimulus provided is non-directional. The animal does not move toward or away from the stimulus but moves at either a slow or fast rate depending on its "comfort zone." In this case a fast movement (non-random) means that the animal is searching for its comfort zone but a slow movement indicates that it has found it.


There are two main types of kineses, both resulting in aggregations. However, the stimulus does not act to attract or repel individuals.

Orthokinesis: in which the speed of movement of the individual is dependent upon the stimulus intensity. For example, the locomotion of a woodlice in relation to humidity. With increased humidity there is an increase in the percentage time that the woodlice will remain stationary.[citation needed]

Klinokinesis: in which the frequency or rate of turning is proportional to stimulus intensity. For example the behaviour of the flatworm (Dendrocoelum lacteum) which turns more frequently in response to increasing light thus ensuring that it spends more time in dark areas.[1]

Basic model of kinesisEdit

The kinesis strategy controlled by the locally and instantly evaluated well-being (fitness) can be described in simple words: Animals stay longer in good conditions and leave bad conditions more quickly. If the well-being is measured by the local reproduction coefficient then the minimal reaction-diffusion model of kinesis can be written as follows: [2]

For each population in the biological community,


where:   is the population density of ith species,   represents the abiotic characteristics of the living conditions (can be multidimensional),   is the reproduction coefficient, which depends on all   and on s,   is the equilibrium diffusion coefficient (defined for equilibrium  ). The coefficient   characterises dependence of the diffusion coefficient on the reproduction coefficient.

The models of kinesis were tested with typical situations. It was demonstrated that kinesis is beneficial for assimilation of both patches and fluctuations of food distribution. Kinesis may delay invasion and spreading of species with the Allee effect.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Result of Your Query".
  2. ^ A.N. Gorban,N. Çabukoǧlu, Basic model of purposeful kinesis, Ecological Complexity, Volume 33, January 2018, Pages 75-83.
  • Kendeigh, S. Charles. 1961. Animal Ecology. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 468 p.

External linksEdit