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Remora fish studied for glue

941425_593814720643361_916565953_nFrom Cayman Islands Department of Environment

DID YOU KNOW? Remora fish are helping researchers with a sticky situation! Remoras (from the family Echeneidae) are fish that attach themselves to a host, usually large free-swimming fish such as sharks and mantas, using a radically modified foredorsal fin on the top its head. They use the host for transportation and to eat the scraps that the host drops while eating.

They are usually 8 – 15 inches in length, but can reach a maximum size of 31 inches. Three species of remora have been described in the Caribbean: the Whitefin sharksucker (Echeneis neucratoides), the Sharksucker (Echeneis naucrates; pictured here) and the Remora (Remora remora).

A new study led by researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in the US is providing details of the structure and tissue properties of the remora’s unique adhesion system. The researchers plan to use this information to create an engineered reversible adhesive inspired by the remora that could be used to create pain- and residue-free bandages, attach sensors to objects in aquatic or military reconnaissance environments, replace surgical clamps and help robots climb.

“While other creatures with unique adhesive properties – such as geckos, tree frogs and insects – have been the inspiration for laboratory-fabricated adhesives, the remora has been overlooked until now,” said GTRI senior research engineer Jason Nadler. “The remora’s attachment mechanism is quite different from other suction cup-based systems, fasteners or adhesives that can only attach to smooth surfaces or cannot be detached without damaging the host.”

To learn more about this study, see



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