Termites are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. Termites were once classified in a separate order from cockroaches, but recent phylogenetic studies indicate that they evolved from close ancestors of cockroaches during the Jurassic or Triassic. However, the first termites emerged during the Permian or the Carboniferous. About 3,106 species are described, with a few hundred more left to be described. Although these insects are called "white ants", they are not ants. Like ants and some bees and wasps from the separate order Hymenoptera, termites divide labour among castes consisting of sterile male and female "workers" and "soldiers". All colonies have fertile males called "kings" and one or more fertile females called "queens". Termites feed on dead plant material and cellulose in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung. Termites are major detritivores in the subtropical and tropical regions, their recycling of wood and plant matter is of considerable ecological importance.
Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonising most landmasses except Antarctica. Their colonies range in size from a few hundred individuals to enormous societies with several million individuals. Termite queens have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world, with some queens living up to 30 to 50 years. Unlike ants, which undergo a complete metamorphosis, each individual termite goes through an incomplete metamorphosis that proceeds through egg and adult stages. Colonies are described as superorganisms because the termites form part of a self-regulating entity: the colony itself. Termites are a delicacy in the diet of some human cultures and are used in many traditional medicines. Several hundred species are economically significant as pests that can cause serious damage to buildings, crops, or plantation forests; some species, such as the West Indian drywood termite, are regarded as invasive species. The infraorder name Isoptera is derived from the Greek words iso and ptera, which refers to the nearly equal size of the fore and hind wings.
"Termite" derives from the Latin and Late Latin word termes, altered by the influence of Latin terere from the earlier word tarmes. Termite nests were known as terminarium or termitaria. In earlier English, termites were known as "wood ants" or "white ants"; the modern term was first used in 1781. Termites were placed in the order Isoptera; as early as 1934 suggestions were made that they were related to wood-eating cockroaches based on the similarity of their symbiotic gut flagellates. In the 1960s additional evidence supporting that hypothesis emerged when F. A. McKittrick noted similar morphological characteristics between some termites and Cryptocercus nymphs. In 2008 DNA analysis from 16S rRNA sequences supported the position of termites being nested within the evolutionary tree containing the order Blattodea, which included the cockroaches; the cockroach genus Cryptocercus shares the strongest phylogenetical similarity with termites and is considered to be a sister-group to termites. Termites and Cryptocercus share similar morphological and social features: for example, most cockroaches do not exhibit social characteristics, but Cryptocercus takes care of its young and exhibits other social behaviour such as trophallaxis and allogrooming.
Termites are thought to be the descendants of the genus Cryptocercus. Some researchers have suggested a more conservative measure of retaining the termites as the Termitoidae, an epifamily within the cockroach order, which preserves the classification of termites at family level and below. Termites have long been accepted to be related to cockroaches and mantids, they are classified in the same superorder; the oldest unambiguous termite fossils date to the early Cretaceous, but given the diversity of Cretaceous termites and early fossil records showing mutualism between microorganisms and these insects, they originated earlier in the Jurassic or Triassic. Further evidence of a Jurassic origin is the assumption that the extinct Fruitafossor consumed termites, judging from its morphological similarity to modern termite-eating mammals; the oldest termite nest discovered is believed to be from the Upper Cretaceous in West Texas, where the oldest known faecal pellets were discovered. Claims that termites emerged earlier have faced controversy.
For example, F. M. Weesner indicated that the Mastotermitidae termites may go back to the Late Permian, 251 million years ago, fossil wings that have a close resemblance to the wings of Mastotermes of the Mastotermitidae, the most primitive living termite, have been discovered in the Permian layers in Kansas, it is possible that the first termites emerged during the Carboniferous. The folded wings of the fossil wood roach Pycnoblattina, arranged in a convex pattern between segments 1a and 2a, resemble those seen in Mastotermes, the only living insect with the same pattern. Krishna et al. though, consider that all of the Paleozoic and Triassic insects tentatively classified as termites are in fact unrelated to termites and should be excluded from the Isoptera. The primitive giant northern termite exhibits numerous cockroach-like characteristics that are not shared with other termites, such as laying its eggs in rafts and having anal lobes on the wings. Cryptocercidae and Isoptera are united in the clade Xylophagidae.
Termites are sometimes called "white ants" but the only resemblance to the ants is due to their sociality, due to converg
Entomophagy describes the practice of eating insects by humans. The eggs, larvae and adults of certain insects have been eaten by humans from prehistoric times to the present day. Around 3,000 ethnic groups practice entomophagy. Human insect-eating is common to cultures in most parts of the world, including Central and South America, Asia and New Zealand. Eighty percent of the world's nations eat insects of 1,000 to 2,000 species. In some societies entomophagy is taboo. Today, insect eating is uncommon in North America and Europe, but insects remain a popular food elsewhere, some companies are trying to introduce insects as food into Western diets. FAO has registered some 1,900 edible insect species and estimates that there were, in 2005, some two billion insect consumers worldwide, they suggest eating insects as a possible solution to environmental degradation caused by livestock production. Entomophagy is sometimes defined broadly to cover the eating of arthropods other than insects, including arachnids and myriapods.
Insects and arachnids eaten around the world include crickets, grasshoppers, various beetle grubs, various species of caterpillar and tarantulas. There are over 1,900 known species of arthropods. Recent assessments of the potential of large-scale entomophagy have led some experts to suggest insects as a potential alternative protein source to conventional livestock, citing possible benefits including greater efficiency, lower resource use, increased food security, environmental and economic sustainability. Insects and fungi that obtain their nutrition from insects are sometimes termed entomophagous in the context of biological control applications; these may be more classified into predators, parasites or parasitoids, while viruses and fungi that grow on or inside insects may be termed "entomopathogenic". Before humans had tools to hunt or farm, insects may have represented an important part of their diet. Evidence has been found analyzing coprolites from caves in the Mexico. Coprolites in caves in the Ozark Mountains were found to contain ants, beetle larvae, lice and mites.
Evidence suggests that evolutionary precursors of Homo sapiens were entomophagous. Insectivory features to various degrees amongst extant primates, such as marmosets and tamarins, some researchers suggest that the earliest primates were nocturnal, arboreal insectivores. Most extant apes are insectivorous to some degree. Cave paintings in Altamira, north Spain, which have been dated from about 30,000 to 9,000 BC, depict the collection of edible insects and wild bee nests, suggesting a entomophagous society. Cocoons of wild silkworm were found in ruins in Shanxi Province of China, from 2,000 to 2,500 years BC; the cocoons were discovered with large holes in them. Many ancient entomophagy practices have changed little over time compared with other agricultural practices, leading to the development of modern traditional entomophagy. Many cultures embrace the eating of insects. Edible insects have long been used by ethnic groups in Asia, Africa and South America as cheap and sustainable sources of protein.
Up to 2,086 species are eaten by 3,071 ethnic groups in 130 countries. The species include 235 butterflies and moths, 344 beetles, 313 ants and wasps, 239 grasshoppers and cockroaches, 39 termites, 20 dragonflies, as well as cicadas. Insects are known to be eaten in 80 percent of the world's nations; the leafcutter ant Atta laevigata is traditionally eaten in some regions of Colombia and northeast Brazil. In southern Africa, the widespread moth Gonimbrasia belina's large caterpillar, the mopani or mopane worm, is a source of food protein. In Australia, the witchetty grub is eaten by the indigenous population; the grubs of Hypoderma tarandi, a reindeer parasite, were part of the traditional diet of the Nunamiut people. Udonga montana is a pentatomid bug that has periodic population outbreaks and is eaten in northeastern India. Traditionally several ethnic groups in Indonesia are known to consume insects—especially grasshoppers, termites, the larvae of the sago palm weevil, bee. In Java and Kalimantan and crickets are lightly battered and deep fried in palm oil as a crispy kripik or rempeyek snack.
In Banyuwangi, East Java, there is a specialty botok called botok tawon, beehives that contains bee larvae, being seasoned in spices and shredded coconut, wrapped inside a banana leaf package and steamed. Dayak tribes of Kalimantan Moluccans and Papuan tribes in Eastern Indonesia, are known to consumes ulat sagu or larvae of sago palm weevil; this protein-rich larvae is considered as a delicacy in Papua, eaten both uncooked. In Thailand, certain insects are consumed in northern provinces. Traditional markets in Thailand have stalls selling deep-fried grasshoppers, bee larvae, ant eggs and termites; the use of insects as an ingredient in traditional foodstuffs in places such as Hidalgo in Mexico has been on a large enough scale to cause their populations to decline. Eating insects has not been adopted as a widespread practice in the West. By 2011, a few restaurants in the Western world served insects. For examp
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes that are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Different characteristics tend to exist within any given population as a result of mutation, genetic recombination and other sources of genetic variation. Evolution occurs when evolutionary processes such as natural selection and genetic drift act on this variation, resulting in certain characteristics becoming more common or rare within a population, it is this process of evolution that has given rise to biodiversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms and molecules. The scientific theory of evolution by natural selection was proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in the mid-19th century and was set out in detail in Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. Evolution by natural selection was first demonstrated by the observation that more offspring are produced than can survive.
This is followed by three observable facts about living organisms: 1) traits vary among individuals with respect to their morphology and behaviour, 2) different traits confer different rates of survival and reproduction and 3) traits can be passed from generation to generation. Thus, in successive generations members of a population are more to be replaced by the progenies of parents with favourable characteristics that have enabled them to survive and reproduce in their respective environments. In the early 20th century, other competing ideas of evolution such as mutationism and orthogenesis were refuted as the modern synthesis reconciled Darwinian evolution with classical genetics, which established adaptive evolution as being caused by natural selection acting on Mendelian genetic variation. All life on Earth shares a last universal common ancestor that lived 3.5–3.8 billion years ago. The fossil record includes a progression from early biogenic graphite, to microbial mat fossils, to fossilised multicellular organisms.
Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped by repeated formations of new species, changes within species and loss of species throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. Morphological and biochemical traits are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, can be used to reconstruct phylogenetic trees. Evolutionary biologists have continued to study various aspects of evolution by forming and testing hypotheses as well as constructing theories based on evidence from the field or laboratory and on data generated by the methods of mathematical and theoretical biology, their discoveries have influenced not just the development of biology but numerous other scientific and industrial fields, including agriculture and computer science. The proposal that one type of organism could descend from another type goes back to some of the first pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, such as Anaximander and Empedocles; such proposals survived into Roman times. The poet and philosopher Lucretius followed Empedocles in his masterwork De rerum natura.
In contrast to these materialistic views, Aristotelianism considered all natural things as actualisations of fixed natural possibilities, known as forms. This was part of a medieval teleological understanding of nature in which all things have an intended role to play in a divine cosmic order. Variations of this idea became the standard understanding of the Middle Ages and were integrated into Christian learning, but Aristotle did not demand that real types of organisms always correspond one-for-one with exact metaphysical forms and gave examples of how new types of living things could come to be. In the 17th century, the new method of modern science rejected the Aristotelian approach, it sought explanations of natural phenomena in terms of physical laws that were the same for all visible things and that did not require the existence of any fixed natural categories or divine cosmic order. However, this new approach was slow to take root in the biological sciences, the last bastion of the concept of fixed natural types.
John Ray applied one of the more general terms for fixed natural types, "species," to plant and animal types, but he identified each type of living thing as a species and proposed that each species could be defined by the features that perpetuated themselves generation after generation. The biological classification introduced by Carl Linnaeus in 1735 explicitly recognised the hierarchical nature of species relationships, but still viewed species as fixed according to a divine plan. Other naturalists of this time speculated on the evolutionary change of species over time according to natural laws. In 1751, Pierre Louis Maupertuis wrote of natural modifications occurring during reproduction and accumulating over many generations to produce new species. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon suggested that species could degenerate into different organisms, Erasmus Darwin proposed that all warm-blooded animals could have descended from a single microorganism; the first full-fledged evolutionary scheme was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's "transmutation" theory of 1809, which envisaged spontaneous generation continually producing simple forms of life that developed greater complexity in parallel lineages with an inherent progressive tendency, postulated that on a local level, these lineages adapted to the environment by inheriting changes caused by their use or disuse in parents.
These ideas were cond
A carnivore, meaning "meat eater", is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting or of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging. Animals that depend on animal flesh for their nutrient requirements are called obligate carnivores while those that consume non-animal food are called facultative carnivores. Omnivores consume both animal and non-animal food, apart from the more general definition, there is no defined ratio of plant to animal material that would distinguish a facultative carnivore from an omnivore. A carnivore at the top of the food chain, not preyed upon by other animals, is termed an apex predator. "Carnivore" may refer to the mammalian order Carnivora, but this is somewhat misleading: many, but not all, Carnivora are meat eaters, fewer are true obligate carnivores. For example, while the Arctic polar bear eats meat most species of bears are omnivorous, the giant panda is herbivorous. There are many carnivorous species that are not members of Carnivora.
Outside the animal kingdom, there are several genera containing carnivorous plants and several phyla containing carnivorous fungi. Carnivores are sometimes characterized by their type of prey. For example, animals that eat insects and similar invertebrates are called insectivores, while those that eat fish are called piscivores; the first tetrapods, or land-dwelling vertebrates, were piscivorous amphibians known as labyrinthodonts. They gave rise to insectivorous vertebrates and to predators of other tetrapods. Carnivores may alternatively be classified according to the percentage of meat in their diet; the diet of a hypercarnivore consists of more than 70% meat, that of a mesocarnivore 30–70%, that of a hypocarnivore less than 30%, with the balance consisting of non-animal foods such as fruits, other plant material, or fungi. Obligate or "true" carnivores are those. While obligate carnivores might be able to ingest small amounts of plant matter, they lack the necessary physiology required to digest it.
In fact, some obligate carnivorous mammals will only ingest vegetation for the sole purpose of its use as an emetic, to self-induce vomiting of the vegetation along with the other food it had ingested that upset its stomach. Obligate carnivores include the axolotl, which consumes worms and larvae in its environment, but if necessary will consume algae, as well as all felids which require a diet of animal flesh and organs. Cats have high protein requirements and their metabolisms appear unable to synthesize essential nutrients such as retinol, arginine and arachidonic acid. Characteristics associated with carnivores include strength and keen senses for hunting, as well as teeth and claws for capturing and tearing prey. However, some carnivores do not hunt and are scavengers, lacking the physical characteristics to bring down prey. Carnivores have comparatively short digestive systems, as they are not required to break down the tough cellulose found in plants. Many hunting animals have evolved eyes facing forward.
This is universal among mammalian predators, while most reptile and amphibian predators have eyes facing sideways. Predation predates the rise of recognized carnivores by hundreds of millions of years; the earliest predators were microbial organisms, which grazed on others. Because the fossil record is poor, these first predators could date back anywhere between 1 and over 2.7 Gya. The rise of eukaryotic cells at around 2.7 Gya, the rise of multicellular organisms at about 2 Gya, the rise of mobile predators have all been attributed to early predatory behavior, many early remains show evidence of boreholes or other markings attributed to small predator species. Among more familiar species, the first vertebrate carnivores were fish, amphibians that moved on to land. Early tetrapods were large amphibious piscivores; some scientists assert that Dimetrodon "was the first terrestrial vertebrate to develop the curved, serrated teeth that enable a predator to eat prey much larger than itself." While amphibians continued to feed on fish and insects, reptiles began exploring two new food types: tetrapods and plants.
Carnivory was a natural transition from insectivory for medium and large tetrapods, requiring minimal adaptation. In the Mesozoic, some theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex were obligate carnivores. Though the theropods were the larger carnivores, several carnivorous mammal groups were present. Most notable are the gobiconodontids, the triconodontid Jugulator, the deltatheroideans and Cimolestes. Many of these, such as Repenomamus and Cimolestes, were among the largest mammals in their faunal assemblages, capable of attacking dinosaurs. In the early-to-mid-Cenozoic, the dominant predator forms were mammals: hyaenodonts, entelodonts, ptolemaiidans and mesonychians, representing a great diversity of eutherian carnivores
The aye-aye is a lemur, a strepsirrhine primate native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger. It is the world's largest nocturnal primate, it is characterized by its unusual method of finding food: it taps on trees to find grubs gnaws holes in the wood using its forward slanting incisors to create a small hole in which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. This foraging method is called percussive foraging, takes up 5–41% of foraging time; the only other animal species known to find food in this way is the striped possum. From an ecological point of view, the aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker, as it is capable of penetrating wood to extract the invertebrates within; the aye-aye is the only extant member of the genus family Daubentoniidae. It is classified as Endangered by the IUCN; the genus Daubentonia was named after the French naturalist Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton by his student, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, in 1795.
Geoffroy considered using the Greek name Scolecophagus in reference to its eating habits, but he decided against it because he was uncertain about the aye-aye's habits and whether other related species might be discovered. In 1863, British zoologist John Edward Gray coined the family name Daubentoniidae; the French naturalist Pierre Sonnerat was the first to use the vernacular name "aye-aye" in 1782 when he described and illustrated the lemur, though it was called the "long-fingered lemur" by English zoologist George Shaw in 1800—a name that did not stick. According to Sonnerat, the name "aye-aye" was a "cri d'exclamation & d'étonnement". However, American paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall noted in 1982 that the name resembles the Malagasy name "hai hai" or "hay hay", used around the island. According to Dunkel et al. in 2012, the widespread use of the Malagasy name indicates that the name could not have come from Sonnerat. Another hypothesis proposed by Simons and Meyers in 2001 is that it derives from "heh heh", Malagasy for "I don't know".
If correct the name might have originated from Malagasy people saying "heh heh" to avoid saying the name of a feared, magical animal. Due to its derived morphological features, the classification of the aye-aye has been debated since its discovery; the possession of continually growing incisors parallels those of rodents, leading early naturalists to mistakenly classify the aye-aye within the mammalian order Rodentia and as a squirrel, due to its toes, hair coloring, tail. However, the aye-aye is similar to felines in its head shape, eyes and nostrils; the aye-aye's classification with the order Primates has been just as uncertain. It has been considered a derived member of the family Indridae, a basal branch of the strepsirrhine suborder, of indeterminate relation to all living primates. In 1931, Anthony and Coupin classified the aye-aye under infraorder Chiromyiformes, a sister group to the other strepsirrhines. Colin Groves upheld this classification in 2005 because he was not convinced the aye-aye formed a clade with the rest of the Malagasy lemurs, despite molecular tests that had shown Daubentoniidae was basal to all Lemuriformes, deriving from the same lemur ancestor that rafted to Madagascar during the Paleocene or Eocene.
In 2008, Russell Mittermeier, Colin Groves, others ignored addressing higher-level taxonomy by defining lemurs as monophyletic and containing five living families, including Daubentoniidae. Further evidence indicating that the aye-aye belongs in the superfamily Lemuroidea can be inferred from the presence of petrosal bullae encasing the ossicles of the ear. However, the bones may have some resemblance to those of rodents; the aye-ayes are similar to lemurs in their shorter back legs. The species has an average head and body length of 14–17 inches plus a tail of 22–24 inches, weighs around 4 pounds. Young aye-ayes are silver colored on their front and have a stripe down their back. However, as the aye-ayes begin to reach maturity, their bodies will be covered in thick fur and are not one solid color. On the head and back, the ends of the hair are tipped with white while the rest of the body will ordinarily be a yellow and/or brown color. In length, a full-grown aye-aye is about three feet long with a tail as long as its body.
Among the aye-aye's signature traits are its fingers. The third finger, thinner than the others, is used for tapping, while the fourth finger, the longest, is used for pulling bugs out of trees; the middle finger is unique in. The complex geometry of ridges on the inner surface of aye-aye ears helps to focus not only echolocation signals from the tapping of its finger, but to passively listen for any other sound produced by the prey; these ridges can be regarded as the acoustic equivalent of a Fresnel lens, may be seen in a large variety of unrelated animals, such as lesser galago, bat-eared fox, mouse lemur, others. Females have two nipples located in the region of the groin; the aye-aye is a nocturnal and arboreal animal meaning that it spends most of its life high in the trees. Although they are known to come down to the ground on occasion, aye-ayes sleep, eat and mate in the trees and are most found close to the canopy where there is plenty of cover from the dense foliage. During the day, aye-ayes sleep in spherical nests in the forks of tree branch
Geckos are lizards belonging to the infraorder Gekkota, found in warm climates throughout the world. They range from 1.6 to 60 cm. Most geckos cannot blink, but they lick their eyes to keep them clean and moist, they have a fixed lens within each iris. Geckos are unique among lizards in their vocalizations, they use chirping or clicking sounds in their social interactions, sometimes when alarmed. They are the most species-rich group of lizards, with about 1,500 different species worldwide; the New Latin gekko and English "gecko" stem from the Indonesian-Malay gēkoq, imitative of sounds that some species make. All geckos except species in the family Eublepharidae lack eyelids. Species without eyelids lick their own corneas when they need to clear them of dust and dirt. Nocturnal species have excellent night vision; the nocturnal geckos evolved from diurnal species. The gecko eye therefore modified its cones that increased in size into different types both single and double. Three different photopigments have been retained and are sensitive to UV, green.
They use a multifocal optical system that allows them to generate a sharp image for at least two different depths. Most gecko species can lose their tails in defense, a process called autotomy. Many species are well known for their specialised toe pads that enable them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces, cross indoor ceilings with ease. Geckos are well known to people who live in warm regions of the world, where several species of geckos make their home inside human habitations; these become part of the indoor menagerie and are welcomed, as they feed on insects, including moths and mosquitoes. Unlike most lizards, geckos are nocturnal; the largest species, the kawekaweau, is only known from a single, stuffed specimen found in the basement of a museum in Marseille, France. This gecko was 60 cm long and it was endemic to New Zealand, where it lived in native forests, it was wiped out along with much of the native fauna of these islands in the late 19th century, when new invasive species such as rats and stoats were introduced to the country during European colonization.
The smallest gecko, the Jaragua sphaero, is a mere 1.6 cm long and was discovered in 2001 on a small island off the coast of the Dominican Republic. Like other reptiles, geckos are ectothermic, producing little metabolic heat. A gecko's body temperature is dependent on its environment. In order to accomplish their main functions—such as locomotion, reproduction, etc.—geckos must have a elevated temperature. All geckos shed their skin at regular intervals, with species differing in timing and method. Leopard geckos will shed at about two- to four-week intervals; the presence of moisture aids in the shedding. When shedding begins, the gecko will speed the process by detaching the loose skin from its body and eating it. For young geckos, shedding will occur more at once every week, but when they grow, they shed once every one or two months. About 60% of gecko species have adhesive toe pads that allow them to adhere to most surfaces without the use of liquids or surface tension; such pads have been gained and lost over the course of gecko evolution.
Adhesive toepads evolved independently in about 11 different gecko lineages and were lost in at least 9 lineages. The spatula-shaped setae arranged in lamellae on gecko footpads enable attractive van der Waals' forces between the β-keratin lamellae/setae/spatulae structures and the surface; these van der Waals interactions involve no fluids. A recent study has however shown that gecko adhesion is in fact determined by electrostatic interaction, not van der Waals or capillary forces; the setae on the feet of geckos are self-cleaning and will remove any clogging dirt within a few steps. Teflon, which has low surface energy, is more difficult for geckos to adhere to than many other surfaces. Gecko adhesion is improved by higher humidity on hydrophobic surfaces, yet is reduced under conditions of complete immersion in water; the role of water in that system is under discussion, yet recent experiments agree that the presence of molecular water layers on the setae as well as on the surface increase the surface energy of both, therefore the energy gain in getting these surfaces in contact is enlarged, which results in an increased gecko adhesion force.
Moreover, the elastic properties of the b-keratin change with water uptake. Gecko toes seem to be "double jointed", but this is a misnomer and is properly called digital hyperextension. Gecko toes can hyperextend in the opposite direction from human toes; this allows them to overcome the van der Waals force by peeling their toes off surfaces from the tips inward. In essence, by this peeling action, the gecko separates spatula by spatula from the surface, so for each spatula separation, only some nN are necessary. Geckos' toes operate well below their full attractive capabilities most of the time, because the margin for error is great depending upon the surface roughness, the