Roughness Versus Chemistry: Effect of Different Surface Properties on Insect Adhesion

  • Elena V. GorbEmail author
  • Matt W. England
  • Tomoya Sato
  • Makoto Yagihashi
  • Atsushi Hozumi
  • Stanislav N. Gorb
Part of the Biologically-Inspired Systems book series (BISY, volume 9)


In order to study the effect of different surface properties on the attachment ability of seven-spotted ladybird beetles Coccinella septempunctata, traction forces of both male and female beetles were systematically measured on eight types of surface, each with different chemical and topographical properties. Three of these surfaces were smooth with different surface wettabilities, including two types of hydrophobic monolayers, with alkyl- and perfluoroalkyl-terminated functional groups. The third smooth surface was a hydrophobic/oleophilic alkylsilane-derived hybrid film, showing low contact angle hysteresis for water and n-hexadecane. In addition, we also tested three rough surfaces with different roughness values and different wettabilities. Smooth, hydrophilic silicon wafers (Si) and glass surfaces were used as two reference surfaces. The results of traction force tests clearly demonstrated that chemical surface properties, such as static/dynamic dewettability of water and oil caused by specific chemical compositions, had a certain effect on the beetle attachment: hydrophobic and oleophobic substrates tend to reduce the attachment forces. Surface roughness was found to be the dominant factor, strongly affecting the attachment ability of the beetles up to complete diminishing of attachment.



This book chapter is adapted from the publication England, Sato, Yagihashi, Hozumi, Gorb, and Gorb (2016) Surface roughness rather than surface chemistry essentially affects insect adhesion, Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 7, 1471 (2016). The authors thank Charlotte Bellmann and Ingo Grawe (both Kiel University) for their assistance with the force measurements and Emre Kizilkan (Kiel University) for the introduction into the plasma treatment device. This work was partially supported by CARTRIB Project of The Leverhulme Trust (E.V. Gorb and S.N. Gorb) and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP24120005 (A. Hozumi) in Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Innovative Materials Engineering Based on Biological Diversity”.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena V. Gorb
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matt W. England
    • 2
  • Tomoya Sato
    • 2
  • Makoto Yagihashi
    • 3
  • Atsushi Hozumi
    • 2
  • Stanislav N. Gorb
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Functional Morphology and BiomechanicsKiel UniversityKielGermany
  2. 2.National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)NagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research InstituteNagoyaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Zoological InstituteKiel UniversityKielGermany

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