Influence of ambient humidity on the attachment ability of ladybird beetles (Coccinella septempunctata)

Lars Heepe, Jonas O. Wolff, Stanislav N. Gorb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Many insects possess adhesive foot pads, which enable them to scale smooth vertical surfaces. The function of these organs may be highly affected by environmental conditions. Ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae) possess dense tarsal soles of tenent setae, supplemented with an adhesive fluid. We studied the attachment ability of the seven-spotted ladybird beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) at different humidities by horizontal traction experiments. We found that both low (15%) and high (99%) relative humidities lead to a decrease of attachment ability. The significantly highest attachment forces were revealed at 60% humidity. This relationship was found both in female and male beetles, despite of a deviating structure of adhesive setae and a significant difference in forces between sexes. These findings demonstrate that not only dry adhesive setae are affected by ambient humidity, but also setae that stick due to the capillarity of an oily secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1322-1329
Number of pages8
JournalBeilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • adhesion
  • beetle
  • biomechanics
  • force measurement
  • friction
  • insect
  • locomotion
  • surface

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