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Microstructures create reversible attachment: dragonfly

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Dragonflies mating / Eric Bégin / LicenseCC-by-nc-nd - Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

The neck attachment of a dragonfly's head protects it from mechanical stresses by arresting it using microstructures that create friction.

BIOMIMICRY TAXONOMY
Summary
"The arrester or fixation system of the head in adult Odonata is unique among arthropods. This system involves the organs of two body segments: the head and the neck. It consists of a skeleton-muscle apparatus that sets the arrester parts in motion. The parts comprise formations covered with complicated microstructures--fields of microtrichia on the rear surface of the head and post-cervical sclerites of the neck. The arrester immobilizes the head during feeding or when the dragonfly is in tandem flight. Thus, it may serve as an adaptation to save the head from violent mechanical disturbance and to stabilize gaze in a variety of behavioural situations." (Gorb 1999:525)

"The arrester system includes the adjusting organs of two body segments--the head and neck--and consists of (i) the skeleton-muscle apparatus that moves the head and neck sclerites, (ii) co-opted microsculptures, which are fields of microtrichia on the rear surface of the head (MFH) and on the post-cervical sclerites of the neck (SPCs), (iii) the secretory apparatus consisting of epidermal cells, which produces lipid substances which pass through porous channels in the cuticle into the region of contact between the MFH and SPCs, and (iv) sensory organs monitoring contact between the MFH and SPCs and the position of the SPCs relative to the other neck sclerites (Gorb 1991a). (Gorb 1999:525)


Arrow shows location of dragonfly arrestor mechanism. Artist: Meghan Hanson Powers. Copyright: All rights reserved by Biomimicry 3.8 Institute.


Two kinds of top and bottom microtrichia, separated on the top and attached on the bottom. Artist: Meghan Hanson Powers. Copyright: All rights reserved by Biomimicry 3.8 Institute.

About the inspiring organism
Med_1409884153_cb646cb8a4_b Odonata
Odonata

Learn more at EOL.org
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist


Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Glue-less attachments. Increasing friction when needed for traction, mechanics.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Manufacturing

Experts
Evolutionary Biomaterials Group
Stanislav Gorb
Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung
References
Gorb SN. 1999. Evolution of the dragonfly head-arresting system. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 266(1418): 525-535.
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Gorb SN. 1997. Ultrastructural architecture of the microtrichia of the insect cuticle. Journal of Morphology. 234(1): 1-10.
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Gorb SN. 191. Sensilla in the odonate arrester system (Odonata). N1: 61-68 (In Russian).
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