Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life
by Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher
Chapter 2: Forces: The Big Push
It's interesting how much physics can be used to describe certain animal characteristics--stuff that you probably don't think much about if you were strictly a biologist. As I've mentioned before, this book is pretty informative, and I found the sections about the gecko and the trap jaw ant the most engrossing.
Though while I'm finding this book an easy read, it doesn't escape my notice that the chapters meander a lot from one subject to another. The subject transitions aren't exactly smooth, and I sometimes find myself a little lost.
Meanwhile, I found this tidbit the most interesting:
'When you squirt a gecko with water, the water just flies off,' says Stark. 'It's really hard to wet a gecko. The toe-pads are superhydrophobic and you can see the water beaded on top.' In extremely wet conditions, the same property that makes the water bead up creates small pockets of air around gecko feet, according to Stark. 'If you push a foot that's really water-repellent through water, you've now got an air bubble around that material so that when they press down they stay dry and can make that close contact still.'
I would love some of that gecko trait in my next rain coat, please.
Here's a bit of ScienceNews I stumbled across while doing a cursory search of gecko's and their water-repellent feet: Here’s how geckos (almost) walk on water. Just another fun little bit of gecko and lizard goodness!