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Latin arboreus of a tree, from arbor


  • 1 : of, relating to, or resembling a tree
  • 2 : inhabiting or frequenting trees <arboreal monkeys>


Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In every habitat in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some animals may only scale trees occasionally, while others are exclusively arboreal. These habitats pose numerous mechanical challenges to animals moving through them, leading to a variety of anatomical, behavioral and ecological consequences. Furthermore, many of these same principles may be applied to climbing without trees, such as on rock piles or mountains.

The earliest known tetrapod with specializations that adapted it for climbing trees, was Suminia, a synapsid of the late Permian, about 260 million years ago.