News & AnalysisSOCIETY FOR INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY

Clingfish Stick Like Geckos

Science  20 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6066, pp. 277
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6066.277

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Summary

An undergraduate tested the sticking ability of 22 freshly killed Gobiesox maeandricus on eight surfaces mimicking the range of sandpaper grades and reported at the meeting that the fish adhered to them all with an average force 180 times their body weight. (In contrast, rubber suction cups fell off rougher surfaces, sticking only to the three smoothest ones.) Scanning electron microscopy of the clingfish's belly fins revealed that the secret to its staying power may be a rim of microscopic hairs akin to what geckos utilize on their toes to enable them to walk upside down on ceilings.