How weaver ants get a grip

Strong sticking power and quick reaction time help the insects stay put in trees

By Susan Milius, 08:57 AM February 27, 2013

An Asian weaver ant boasts not one but two superpowers: Its extreme sticking power comes with extraordinarily quick emergency grip protection, researchers have discovered.

The ants nest in trees, which they hold onto with their moist, expandable foot pads. The moisture isn’t a glue, but it lets the foot pads hold tight using capillary forces, the same phenomenon that allows water-soaked paper towels to cling to a window. When a branch quivers in the wind, an ant’s foot pads expand, strengt...

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