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Friction-Reducing Sandfish Skin


Officinal skink; Sand skink; Scincus officinalis ; Scincus scincus


The sandfish (Scincus scincus) is a lizard having the remarkable ability to move in desert sand in a swimming-like fashion over significant distances at remarkable velocities up to about 300 mm s−1 when submerged in sand. It is well adapted through evolution to live in loose aeolian sand by different morphological, physiological, and behavioral features. The skin of the sandfish exhibits a very small friction coefficient for sand and high abrasion resistance.

Biological Background

The scincid lizard genus Scincus [1], a group within the order Squamata, is distributed over the huge desert belt ranging from the African west coast (Morocco to Senegal) through the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula into Jordan, Iraq, and SW Iran [13]. The sandfish Scincus scincus [1] (Fig. 1) is known for its ability to move through desert sand very fast, as if it were swimming [16]. This is in contrast to other desert...


  • Friction Coefficient
  • Disulfide Bond
  • Friction Angle
  • Aeolian Sand
  • Desert Sand

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Baumgartner, W. (2015). Friction-Reducing Sandfish Skin. In: Bhushan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Nanotechnology. Springer, Dordrecht.

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