Stick insect

March 4, 2010

This Asian weaver ant is carrying a 500mg weight in its jaws - 100 times its own bodyweight. The photograph was taken in the department of zoology at the University of Cambridge by a team investigating the sticky feet of some insects - this ant is hanging upside down from a glass-like surface. Thomas Endlein, who now works as a research assistant at the University of Glasgow, took the picture. He said: "The pads on ants' feet are self-cleaning and can stick to almost any type of surface. No man-made glue or adhesive system can match this.

"Understanding how animals can control their adhesive systems should help us come up with 'clever' adhesives in the future." His image won first prize in the inaugural Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council science photo competition.

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