Radial arrangement of Janus-like setae permits friction control in spiders

Jonas O. Wolff*, Stanislav N. Gorb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Dynamic attachment is the key to move on steep surfaces, with mechanisms being still not well understood. The hunting spider Cupiennius salei (Arachnida, Ctenidae) possesses hairy attachment pads (claw tufts) at its distal legs, consisting of directional branched setae. The morphological investigation revealed that adhesive setae are arranged in a radial manner within the distal tarsus. Friction of claw tufts on smooth glass was measured to reveal the functional effect of seta arrangement within the pad. Measurements revealed frictional anisotropy in both longitudinal and transversal directions. Contact behaviour of adhesive setae was investigated in a reflection interference contrast microscope (RICM). Observations on living spiders showed, that only a small part of the hairy pads is in contact at the same time. Thus the direction of frictional forces is depending on leg placement and rotation. This may aid controlling the attachment to the substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1101
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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