May 3 2013

The supergule inspired by world’s stickiest – which can hold up to 230 times its own bodyweight

 

The world’s stickiest fish, with an adhesive force up to 230 times its bodyweight, is set to inspire a new household superglue, according to researchers in North Carolina. 

The small Northern Clingfish is found in the Pacific, off the north west coast of the the US. 

It uses modified fins as a suction disk to hold onto the underside of rocks amid crashing waves.

It fastens itself to rough edges by using pads of tiny hairs called microvilli which are similar to those on a gecko’s feet.

Researcher Dylan Wainwright and his colleagues from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina said the method is quick, reversible and readily works underwater.

They said the fish’s technology could be used for adhesive devices in medicine, industry and the home.

The dusky coloured Northern Clingfish, also known as Gobiesox maeandricus, is a species of saltwater fish and measures about six-inches long.

Shaped like tadpoles with a wide, flattened head they have no scales and are covered with a thick coating of slime that makes them very slippery.

They are characterised by their large suction disc formed by the union of the pelvic fins and adjacent folds of flesh.

The research team carried out experiments on 22 samples of Northern Clingfish, caught off the rocks of San Juan Island, Washington, and measured the fishes’ adhesive force on eight surfaces.

Seven of the surfaces had varying sizes of grit on them, and the eighth was made from glass, to see how the fish performed on an extremely smooth layer.

Read the full story here.

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