TitleComparative study of the fluid viscosity in tarsal hairy attachment systems of flies and beetles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsPeisker, H., L. Heepe, A. E. Kovalev, and S. N. Gorb
JournalJournal of The Royal Society Interface
ISBN Number1742-5662

Wet adhesive systems of insects strongly rely for their function on the formation of capillary bridges with the substrate. Studies on the chemical composition and evaporation dynamics of tarsal secretions strongly suggest a difference in chemistry of secretion in beetles and flies, both possessing hairy attachment devices. This difference is assumed to influence the viscosity of the secretion. Here, we applied a microrheological technique, based on the immersion of nanometric beads in the collected tarsal footprints, to estimate secretion viscosity in a beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) and a fly (Calliphora vicina). Both species studied possess distinct differences in viscosity, the median of which was calculated as 21.8 and 10.9 mPa s, respectively. We further present an approximate theoretical model to calculate the contact formation time of spatula-like terminal contact elements using the viscosity data of the covering fluid. The estimated contact formation time is proportional to the tarsal secretion viscosity and to the square of the contact radius of the contact element.














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