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Adhesion and friction of the smooth attachment system of the cockroach Gromphadorhina portentosa and the influence of the application of fluid adhesives

: Betz, Oliver; Frenzel, Melina; Steiner, Michael; Vogt, Martin; Kleemeier, Malte; Hartwig, Andreas; Sampalla, Benjamin; Rupp, Frank; Boley, Moritz; Schmitt, Christian

Fulltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-4456150 (1.6 MByte PDF)
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Created on: 23.5.2017

Biology open 6 (2017), No.5, pp.589-601
ISSN: 2046-6390
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IFAM ()

Two different measurement techniques were applied to study the attachment of the smooth foot pads of the Madagascar hissing cockroach Gromphadorhina portentosa. The attachment of the nonmanipulated adhesive organs was compared with that of manipulatedones (depletion or substitution by artificial secretions). From measurements of the friction on a centrifuge, it can be concluded that on nanorough surfaces, the insect appears to benefit from employing emulsions instead of pure oils to avoid excessive friction. Measurements performed with a nanotribometer on single attachment organs showed that, in the non-manipulatedeuplantulae, friction was clearly increased in the push direction,where as the arolium of the fore tarsus showed higher friction in the pull direction. The surface of the euplantulae shows an imbricate appearance, where upon the ledges face distally, which might contribute to the observed frictional anisotropy in the push direction. Upon depletion of the tarsal adhesion-mediating secretion or its replacement by oily fluids, in several cases, the anisotropic effect of the euplantula disappeared due to the decrease of friction forces inpush-direction. In the euplantulae, adhesion was one to two orders of magnitude lower than friction. Where as the tenacity was slightly decreased with depleted secretion, it was considerably increased after artificial application of oily liquids. In terms of adhesion, it is concluded that the semi-solid consistence of the natural adhesion mediating secretion facilitates the detachment of the tarsus during locomotion. In terms of friction, on smooth to nanorough surfaces, the insects appear to benefit from employing emulsions instead of pure oils to avoid excessive friction forces, where as on rougher surfaces the tarsal fluid rather functions in improving surface contact by keeping the cuticle compliable and compensating surface asperities of the substratum.