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J Insect Physiol. 2009 Nov;55(11):1029-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2009.07.008. Epub 2009 Aug 5.

Tarsal morphology and attachment ability of the codling moth Cydia pomonella L. (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae) to smooth surfaces.

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Institute of Phytomedicine, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.


Despite several studies on the attachment ability of different insect taxa, little is known about this phenomenon in adult Lepidoptera. In this study we combined morphological and experimental analyses of tarsal adhesive devices and the attachment ability of the codling moth Cydia pomonella (L.) (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae) to smooth surfaces. Pretarsi of C. pomonella attach to smooth substrates by means of their smooth, flexible and well developed arolia. Using the centrifugal force measurement technique, friction forces of males and females were assessed on hydrophobic and hydrophilic glass surfaces. Adults of both sexes generated similar forces in spite of the noticeable difference in their body masses. That is why males showed significantly higher safety factors (attachment force divided by body weight) compared to those of females. Hydrophobicity of the substrate had no considerable effect on friction forces. For females, friction forces (sliding parallel to the substrate plane) were compared with adhesive forces (pulling off perpendicularly from the substrate plane) measured on Plexiglas surfaces. It can be concluded that the attachment system of C. pomonella is rather robust against physico-chemical properties of the substrate and is able to achieve a very good attachment on vertical and horizontal substrata.

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