This forty-eight second clip tells us something about why flies stick to a frog’s tongue — and it’s almost scarier than Prometheus, with a monster lurching out of the darkness to launch an attack.
German researchers took a look at the frog’s adhesive tongue and found it works a lot like the pressure-sensitive adhesives found in sticky tape. When the frog deploys its tongue, it doesn’t just lob it out and hope that it will stick to whatever it touches, like spaghetti on a fridge. It rolls its tongue over whatever its intended prey.
When it retracts its tongue, it does so from the outside in, and tiny strands of mucus get left behind. These strands, called fibrils, keep on pulling on the object, even when the tongue isn’t in contact with it anymore. Researchers think that the fibrils respond to pressure, just like the pressure sensitive adhesives that form when you try to peel off sticky tape or bandages.
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