Amazing photo of an asian weaver ants carrying 100 times it's own weight hanging upside down and clinging to a smooth surface.
Photo taken by Dr Thomas Endlein who won first prize in the first annual Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) science photo competition.
The amazing thing about asian weaver ants is that it could run freely when not carrying burden on the same type of surface and not stuck with it's sticky feet.
How the ants could change the level of it's feet stickiness?
According to Dr Endelin “Ants can change the size and shape of the pads on their feet depending on the load they are carrying. If they have to carry heavy loads they increase the contact area, and when they need to run they decrease it.”
The ants leg plays a role in the insects' stickiness.
"If you think about peeling off sticky tape from a surface, it's easiest when you peel at a steep, rather than a shallow, angle. Ants use the same mechanism: when they want to stick, they keep their legs at a shallow angle relative to the surface, and when they want to release their legs they increase this angle and peel off easily," said Dr Endlein.
"The pads on ants' feet are self-cleaning and can stick to almost any type of surface. No man-made glue or adhesive system can match this.”
Dr Endlein stated that by knowing how animal could control their adhesive systems could help scientists to come up with smarter adhesives in the future.