How to run on the surface of water? Scientists have learned the secret of geckos
In addition to the gecko’s characteristic ability to cling to smooth surfaces, these lizards also have another amazing ability. They can run on the surface of the water. Scientists in a new study have determined how they succeeded.
Although geckos can swim, they tend to prefer to run on the surface of the water when threatened, which is a faster way to avoid a predator. Scientists, with the help of ultra-fast cameras, took a close look at this amazing ability of the little lizards.
The researchers’ analysis was published in the journal „Current Biology”.
Geckos are not the only animals thatore able to run on the surface of the water. In addition to small insects (e.g. narticle large), ktore use surface tension to stay afloat and even walk on water, basilisks also called Jesus lizards can do so. They use their hind limbs to run on water and assume an almost vertical position. They are able to overcome krotki distance, as long as they manage to maintain a high speed, when they lose it, they fall into the water.
But geckos are more sophisticated. Thanks to a series of experimentsoin recorded on an ultrafast camera, researchers found that the lizards use a range of techniques to prevent sinking.
Scientists collected eight geckosow and recorded their run across the surface of a 35-centimeter pool. In total, they recorded 63 sprints of the little lizards. After analyzing the recordings, they discovered that geckos hold their heads at an average of 13.4 millimetersoin above the water surface while their tails remained in contact with the water. By hitting the water hard with their paws, they created pockets of air, ktore helped them stay afloat, and the waving tail added speed.
Geckos perform a circular motion with their front limbs. Part of this movement goes through the air, which helps create an air pocket when the rest of the movement ends up underwater. The air pocket supports the gecko on the surface. Basilisks use a similar technique.
Hydrophobic skora gecko repels water. It helps to sprint across its surface. The researchers found that these lizards could keep up to 72 percent of their body length above water.
To see if surface tension has any effect on the ability of a geckooin to run on water, a compositeo³ researchers added to the poolow, after which theorych running soap lizards. Soap has reduced surface tension by about 50 percent. The geckos could still run on water, but their sprint speed was reduced by about half, suggesting that they use roAlso the surface tension to cross the water.
– Geckos can move across the surface of the water at meters per second. No other creature can do this. Geckos are superheroes,” said Professor Robert Full, head of theowny author of the article. Scientist suggested that the study could one day be used to develop a roboticow, whichore will be able to mimic the abilities of geckosow.
SourceoSource: New Scientist, Science News, fot. Pauline Jennings photo courtesy of PolyPEDAL Lab, UC Berkeley