How geckos run across water – they create air pockets with their feet

Mail Online | 12/6/2018 | Victoria Bell For Mailonline
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Geckos can move across a body of water's surface by using a slapping motion to hoist their bodies up, creating an air bubble which generates extra force.

Scientists have found that these creatures use their size and strength to elevate themselves and move across water at impressive speeds, according to a new study.

Jasmine - Nirody - Rockefeller - Fellow - Physics

Jasmine Nirody, a Rockefeller fellow in physics and biology and her team recorded and quantified the gecko's movements.

The study, published in Current Biology, outlines a combination of techniques that the creatures use to accomplish this and other unique manoeuvres.

Lizards - Land - Ground - Walls - Air

The acrobatic lizards are agile on land sprinting across the ground, able to climb vertical walls or propel themselves through the air.

Geckos are able to run at nearly 3 feet (1 m) per second over water and easily transition to speeding across solid ground or climbing up a vertical surface.

Researchers - Animals - Movement - Jusufi - Colleague

Researchers recorded and quantified the animals' movement after Adrian Jusufi, a colleague of Nirody's at the University of California at Berkeley spotted a galloping gecko while on holiday in Singapore.

Mr Jusufi recorded the little lizard as it darted between trees in a flooded area and showed it his colleagues when he returned home.

Researchers - Animal - Size - Surface - Tension

The researchers' were surprised from that an animal that size - too large to depend on surface tension alone, and too small to heave itself up by sheer force - would be capable of these movements.

The team acquired some geckos and a tank, and 'set out to reproduce the animals' unlikely behaviour in the lab'.

Geckos - Heads - Water - Limbs - Water

They discovered that geckos hold their heads high above the water and extend their limbs out to rapidly slap the water and propel themselves along.

'When they hit the water they actually create an air bubble, which generates extra force and helps their body stay above the surface,' says Nirody.

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