Temperature and humidity affects a gecko's grip

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Washington, May 14 : Researchers from University of Akron have revealed that temperature and humidity have a major impact on gecko lizards' clinging ability.

The new study revealed the role of temperature and humidity behind geckos' sticky feet.

"We tested the effect of temperature and humidity on the ability of geckos to stick to glass, expecting that neither would have a major role," said Dr. Peter Niewiarowski, study author and professor of biology.

"Surprisingly, we found that both temperature and humidity variation affect their ability to cling to glass.

"For example, under very humid conditions, geckos stick with twice the force compared to dry conditions at low temperatures. At high temperatures, geckos stick comparatively poorly and the humidity level is less important.

"Previous work by other labs using isolated setae suggested that clinging ability should be insensitive to variation in both temperature and humidity.

"Our work with live geckos indicates a need to further explore the role of temperature and humidity on adhesion to different surfaces in both natural (geckos) and synthetic materials," he added.

The new paper "Sticky gecko feet: the role of temperature and humidity" is published in PLoS ONE, an open-access, online journal.

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