Science News

Diving beetles make underwater adhesive

Thu, 12th Jun 2014

Chris Smith

How diving beetles hang on to their mates underwater has been revealed by scientists in Diving beetle sucker close upTaiwan.

Close up images of the aquatic animals show that bristles on the male beetles' legs attach to their female mates using microscopic suckers that adorn the ends of the bristles on their limbs.

Applied to the female, these hold the pair together while they frolic and mate underwater.

A more primitive species of diving beetle also studied by the team used tiny spatulas covered in fine hairs to achieve the same end. Images of the hairs show the presence of small grooves which ooze a liquid "glue".

As well as providing insights into the evolution of these systems, the discoveries may also reveal ways to make novel underwater sticky tapes and adhesive devices.

Click for video of the beetles in action


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