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Motility is a biological term which refers to the ability to move spontaneously and actively, consuming energy in the process. Most animals are motile but the term applies to single-celled and simple multicellular organisms, as well as to some mechanisms of fluid flow in multicellular organs, in addition to animal locomotion. Motile marine animals are commonly called free-swimming.
The opposite of motility is sessility.
Movements can be:
- along a chemical gradient (see chemotaxis)
- along a temperature gradient (see thermotaxis)
- along a light gradient (see phototaxis)
- along a magnetic field line (see magnetotaxis)
- along an electric field (see galvanotaxis)
- along the direction of the gravitational force (see gravitaxis)
- along a rigidity gradient (see durotaxis)
- along a gradient of cell adhesion sites (see haptotaxis)
- along other cells or biopolymers
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