How Certain Insects Can Walk Effortlessly On Just Any Surface

7th July, 2022.      //   General Interest  // 

How Certain Insects Can Walk Effortlessly On Just Any Surface

Flies and other insects have an amazing ability to move up walls and across ceilings almost effortlessly. Certain insects have unique feet that allow them to walk on surfaces that are almost impossible to hold to. Stiff hair, natural adhesives, and huge claws help the insect move on smooth, upright, or upside-down surfaces.

Insect feet include minute bristle-like hair that is stiff enough to detect minor irregularities in surfaces. Most ceiling and wall materials, including wood, drywall, ceiling tile, and even concrete and glass, have extremely small pits and holes that allow them to breathe. Insects can detect surface holes and pits and grasp them with stiff hairs on the bases of their feet. This holds the bug to the surface, something that would seem impossible for any other animal to do.

Flies and other insects have two footpads on each foot, which are coated with a permanent adhesive produced by the fly’s foot which is coated with a specific natural adhesive formed from sugars and oils. This combination is powerful enough to carry the insect’s body as he navigates the hurdles in his path. This adhesive is precisely the right amount for the size of the bug.

The foot pads are coated in microscopic hairs with hollow, flattened ends. These specialised hair are known as setae, and they serve as conduits for sticky oils and sugars to reach the foot pad. The adhesive on the footpads sticks to the surface every time the foot comes into touch with it. Therefore flies leave small, greasy tracks wherever they go. The fly’s feet have a pair of claws that it uses to drag its feet from the wall or ceiling, allowing it to walk even when the feet are attached to the surface. To withdraw the foot from the surface, the fly presses down with its claws and bends it slightly. Each step requires this procedure, which can be completed so quickly that the insect does not appear to halt while walking.

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