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Is there a single word for animals that stand and walk on all of their limbs, such as cats, ants, and millipedes?

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  • As opposed to Humans, Ostriches and Tyrranosauri bipeds
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:01
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    Yes. I saw "quadrupeds" but that only applies to animals having four limbs. So, that would not cover ants and millipedes, while it may cover mammals.
    – P.K.
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:04
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    If there is one, I have never heard it. If one were to be coined, it might be an omniped. Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:05
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    There is seldom one word to cover multiple complex arrangements. Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 17:40

2 Answers 2

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As opposed to Humans, Ostriches and Tyrranosauri bipeds?

Perhaps polypeds, which happens to be a word in the dictionary, but it does not mention the gait

Wikipedia has this to say

The number of locomotory appendages varies much between animals, and sometimes the same animal may use different numbers of its legs in different circumstances. The best contender for unipedal movement is the springtail, which while normally hexapedal, hurls itself away from danger using its furcula, a tail-like forked rod that can be rapidly unfurled from the underside of its body.

A number of species move and stand on two legs, that is, they are bipedal. The group that is exclusively bipedal is the birds, which have either an alternating or a hopping gait. There are also a number of bipedal mammals. Most of these move by hopping – including the macropods such as kangaroos and various jumping rodents. Only a few mammals such as humans and the ground pangolin commonly show an alternating bipedal gait. Cockroaches and some lizards may also run on their two hind legs.

With the exception of the birds, all terrestrial vertebrate groups with legs are mostly quadrupedal – the mammals, reptiles, and the amphibians usually move on four legs. There are many quadrupedal gaits. The most diverse group of animals on earth, the insects, are included in a larger taxon known as hexapods, most of which are hexapedal, walking and standing on six legs. Exceptions among the insects include praying mantises and water scorpions, which are quadrupeds with their front two legs modified for grasping, some butterflies such as the Lycaenidae (blues and hairstreaks) which use only four legs, and some kinds of insect larvae that may have no legs (e.g., maggots), or additional prolegs (e.g., caterpillars).

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  • Hello! Thank you for the answer. I have read this article, and this is what inspired my question. Just wanted to know if there is a single word covering all of them.
    – P.K.
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:07
  • @Parth, what do you mean “all of the above”? Are you looking for a word for animals that have more than two appendages (such as humans, cats, insects, praying mantises, etc.)? Or are you looking specifically for a word for animals that, regardless of how many limbs they have, use all of them for standing and walking (such as cats, birds, and most insects—but not humans, praying mantises and kangaroos, which have limbs that are not usually used for standing or walking, aka arms)? Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:09
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: The latter -- "a word for animals that, regardless of how many limbs they have, use all of them for standing and walking".
    – P.K.
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:13
  • I very much doubt an actual term for this exists. Since most specialised limbs not used for standing and walking are commonly known as arms, you could simply call them ‘armless’ or, if you’re feeling more Graeco-Roman, abrachial (which would be a nonce neologism). Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:20
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: abrachial could also apply to organisms that lack arms and legs, but are still mobile, such as slugs and snails. Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 15:51
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It seems like you are looking for a word that means "all walking animals except those that walk on only some of their limbs".

While not perfect, that could be rephrased as "animals that walk that are not bipeds", since few animals that walk on two limbs without having additional limbs (wings, arms) nor are there many animals that regularly walk on more than two limbs but not all of them. It depends on what you want to use the word for

I couldn't find an antonym for "bipedal" (beings that walk on two limbs, such as humans and birds), but you could say non-bipedal or non-bipeds. You could specify "non-bipedal land animals" or "ambulatory non-bipeds" to come closer to the goal.

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  • This is not what the question asks.
    – Jim
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 6:45
  • Not directly, but it is a potential answer to their request. Added additional explanation as to why this might be satisfactory.
    – AlannaRose
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 18:49
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    What about lobsters? They walk on multiple legs but have their claw “arms” that they don’t walk on. Similar to scorpions if you want land animals.
    – Jim
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 18:53

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