Surface roughness effects on attachment ability of the spider Philodromus dispar (Araneae, Philodromidae)

Jonas O. Wolff, Stanislav N. Gorb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


The morphology of the tarsal attachment system of the running spider Philodromus dispar Walckenaer 1826 (Araneae, Philodomidae) was studied using scanning electron microscopy and its performance was experimentally tested in traction force measurements. Each pretarsus bears a hierarchically built hairy adhesive pad that consists of a dense array of flattened setae covered with numerous microtrichia on the substrate-facing side. Microtrichia carry spatulate end tips that allow close contact with the substrate. Forces were estimated on tethered living specimens on rough epoxy resin surfaces (asperity size 0.3, 1, 3, 9 and 12μm) and on a smooth surface as a control. A strong reduction in adhesion was observed for substrates with an asperity size of 0.3 and 1μm. Comparison of the present data with previous results of different organisms demonstrates that the difference in force reduction on rough substrata depends on the dimensions of terminal contact elements (spatulae).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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