The influence of humidity on the attachment ability of the spider Philodromus dispar (Araneae, Philodromidae)

Jonas O. Wolff, Stanislav N. Gorb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hairy attachment devices that are not supplemented with fluid secretion have evolved independently in lizards and spiders. van der Waals forces have previously been shown to be responsible for excellent adhesive properties of these structures, but it has recently been reported that wetting phenomena also play an important role in such 'dry adhesives'. To investigate the effect of ambient humidity on the attachment of the living spider Philodromus dispar, traction force was measured on a smooth epoxy resin surface at relative humidities (RHs) of 15, 50, 70, 80 and 99 per cent. The results show that attachment ability is significantly higher at an intermediate humidity compared with that in a dry atmosphere and at high humidity.Water condensation on the substrate surface almost completely abolishes adhesion. Experimental results obtained may be explained by an increase in capillarity or changes in mechanical properties of setae and spatulae owing to water absorption by the cuticle at an intermediate RH. The results obtained show dry adhesion limits under different environmental conditions and are important for understanding spider biology. q 2011 The Royal Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume279
Issue number1726
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

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