Radial arrangement of apical adhesive sites promotes contact self-alignment of fruits in Commicarpus plants (Nyctaginaceae)

Filippov, Alexander E., Gorb, Elena V. and Gorb, Stanislav (2017) Radial arrangement of apical adhesive sites promotes contact self-alignment of fruits in Commicarpus plants (Nyctaginaceae) Scientific Reports, 7 (1). DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-10567-9.

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Abstract

Fruits of the plants from the genus Commicarpus (Nyctaginaceae) use their adhesive properties for dispersal. They can readily stick to various surfaces including skin, fur, and feathers of potential dispersal vectors using the secretion provided by the set of glands arranged radially at the distal end of the cut-cone-shaped fruit. Field observations show that this particular geometry promotes self-alignment of the fruit to various surfaces after initial contact just by one gland is established. Such self-alignment in turn leads to an increase of the number of contacting points and to the enhancement of adhesive contact area. Here, we study this particular geometry from a theoretical point of view, by probing adhesion ability of geometries having from 2 to 7 radially distributed attachment points. The results show that the radial arrangement provides rapid alignment to the surface. The robust adhesion can be reached already at 5 adhesive points and their further increase does not substantially improve the performance. This study is important not only for our understanding of the functional morphology of biological adhesive systems, but also for the development of technical self-aligning adhesive devices.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
Kiel University
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/s41598-017-10567-9
ISSN: 2045-2322
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 10:07
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2017 10:07
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/40699

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