Living With Tarsal Pads

The Namibia bush cricket, Acanthoproctus diadematus, is an armored katydid that lives in the dune sea feeding on !nara plants. It hops from plant to plant using the pads on its tarsi to grip surfaces.  Acanthoproctus diadematus, is unusual in having two types of tarsal pads on the same leg. The distal pads are smooth: typical of pads that provide insects with tight adhesion to surfaces. The smooth pads are always engaged when the insect hangs upside down, but not always engaged in a standing insect.

The more proximal pads are neither smooth nor hairy as in some insects. They have a rough “nubby” surface. The nubby surface is thought to provide friction to prevent slippage when the insect walks and to allow unimpeded detachment from a surface when the insect jumps.

Insect tarsal pads provide us with new ideas for human created surfaces with different stick and release properties. Studies of addition insects may lead to discoveries of tarsal pads with different surfaces and properties.

Tarsal Pads of the Namibia Armored Katydid Top: 3 proximal pads are "nubby"; distal pad is smooth Bottom: Magnification showing fine structure of the pads. From:

Tarsal Pads of the Namibia Armored Katydid
Top: 3 proximal pads are “nubby”; distal pad is smooth
Bottom: Magnification showing fine structure of the pads.
From: Grohmann and colleagues*.

*Constanze Grohmann, Miriam J. Henze, Thomas Nørgaard and Stanislav N. Gorb. 2015. Two functional types of attachment pads on a single foot in the Namibia bush cricket Acanthoproctus diadematus. Proc. R. Soc. B 282: 20142976.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2976

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Tarsal Pads

  1. Pingback: Living With Tarsal Pads | Living With Insects Blog

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