geek science

Mesmerizing: water jumping on a gecko’s skin

Geckos are pretty much dry. The secret of gecko’s dryness have been uncovered by a team lead by Gregory and Jolanta Watson at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

The geckos are able to repel water by using their “geckovescence”. This geckovescence is caused by a dense array of minuscule, hair-like structures called spinules, which cover the bodies of many geckos. This scaly microstructure is thought to be unique to these animals and seems to help them shed water.

They analyzes the gecko Lucasium steindachneri and saw that, due to the way the spinules work, the water was not forming a thin film on its skin, but instead it would clump together and, when a droplet was big enough, it would shoot off into the air like crazy.

It seems that the geckos use this type of skin in order to be keep clean and free from moisture loving bacteria. Interesting trick, I might add.

The video above does it well justice. The music selection is precious.

Journal reference: Journal of the Royal Society Interface, DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1396

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