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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2006 Nov;192(11):1233-43. Epub 2006 Jul 26.

Material structure, stiffness, and adhesion: why attachment pads of the grasshopper (Tettigonia viridissima) adhere more strongly than those of the locust (Locusta migratoria) (Insecta: Orthoptera).

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Evolutionary Biomaterials Group, Department Arzt, Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Heisenbergstr. 3, 70569, Stuttgart, Germany.


The morphology, ultrastructure, effective elastic modulus, and adhesive properties of two different smooth-type attachment pads were studied in two orthopteran species. Tettigonia viridissima (Ensifera) and Locusta migratoria (Caelifera) have a similar structural organization of their attachment pads. They both possess a flexible exocuticle, where the cuticular fibrils are fused into relatively large rods oriented at an angle to the surface. The compliant material of the pad contributes to the contact formation with the substrate. However, the pad material structure was found to be different in these two species. L. migratoria pads bear a thick sub-superficial layer, as well as a higher density of rods. The indentation experiments showed a higher effective elastic modulus and a lower work of adhesion for L. migratoria pads. When the indentations were made at different depths, a higher effective elastic modulus was revealed at lower indentation depths in both species. This effect is explained by the higher stiffness of the superficial pad layer. The obtained results demonstrate a clear correlation between density of the fibres, thickness of the superficial layer, compliance of the pad, and its adhesive properties. Such material structures and properties may be dependent on the preferred environment of each species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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