Tradeoffs for locomotion in air and water
Certain species of fish and birds are able to locomote in both air and water, two fluid media with very different properties. A fluid is a particular phase of matter that deforms under shear stresses and includes any type of liquid or gas. Because fluids are easily deformable and move in response to applied forces, efficiently locomoting in a fluid medium presents unique challenges. Specific morphological characteristics are therefore required in animal species that primarily depend on fluidic locomotion. Because the properties of air and water are so different, swimming and flying have very disparate morphological requirements. As a result, despite the large diversity of animals that are capable of flight or swimming, only a limited number of these species have mastered the ability to both fly and swim. These species demonstrate distinct morphological and behavioral tradeoffs associated with transitioning from air to water and water to air.