Reptile Ravings


 What Goes Up Must Come Down

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Geckos employ an adhesive system that facilitates their climbing vertically, and even in inverted positions.  But can geckos employ this system when moving downhill? 

Biologists at the University of California, Riverside have conducted lab experiments on geckos to find that when moving on steep downhill surfaces, geckos reverse the position of their hind feet to potentially use the adhesive system as a brake and/or stabilizer, resulting in the digits of the hind feet facing backwards.

“This multi-functionality of the gecko adhesive system permits effective locomotion on both uphill and downhill slopes,” says Timothy Higham, an assistant professor of biology, in whose lab the research was done. “Without this ability, geckos would be effective at going up, but they would not be able to descend as easily.  Indeed, they could plummet downhill.”

The research has applications in robotics, specifically in how robots can be designed to move up and down complicated surfaces.

For more information, please visit:

Recent Blog Posts