A Very Sticky Fish...

Vimeo Link:  https://vimeo.com/148759200

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R00UXv44BaM&feature=player_detailpage

Team Members:

Adam Summers, University of Washington
Ian Stevens, University of Washington
Zach Bivins, University of Washington


The northern clingfish, Gobiesox maeandricus, is able to adhere to slippery, fouled and irregular surfaces in the marine intertidal environment. The fish can adhere equally well to surfaces with a broad range of surface roughness, from the finest sandpaper to textures suitable for removing finish from flooring. The fishes outperform man-made suction cups, which only adhere to the smoothest surfaces. This adhesion mechanism relies on hierarchically structured microvilli, which interdigitate with the projections of rugose surfaces. This points to a possible biomimetic solution to the problem of reversibly adhering to irregular, submerged surfaces.

Original Publication: 

Ditsche, P., Wainwright, D. and Summers, A. 2014.  Attachment to challenging substrates - Fouling, roughness and limits of adhesion in the northern clingfish (Gobiesox maeandricus). Journal of Experimental Biology 217:2548-2554 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.100149

Link to Publication: http://jeb.biologists.org/content/217/14/2548

Support Provided by: National Science Foundation Grant IOS-1256602

By the Numbers

Over 40,000 students in 50 US states, the US Virgin Islands, and 25 countries participated as judges in the 2016 Ocean 180 Video Challenge.