Insects and small animals capable of adhering reversibly to a variety of surfaces employ the unique design of the distal part of their legs. In the case of mosquitoes, their feet are composed of thousands of micro- and nanoscale protruding structures, which impart superhydrophobic properties. Previous research has shown that the superhydrophobic nature of the feet allows mosquitoes to land on water, which is necessary for their reproduction cycle. Here, we show that van der Waals interactions are the main adhesion mechanism employed by mosquitoes to adhere to various surfaces. We further demonstrate that the judicious creation of surface roughness on an opposing surface can increase the adhesion strength because of the increased number of surface elements interacting with the setae through multiple contact points. Although van der Waals forces are shown to be the predominant mechanism by which mosquitoes adhere to surfaces, capillary forces can also contribute to the total adhesion force when the opposing surface is hydrophilic and under humid conditions. These fundamental properties can potentially be applied in the development of superior Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs), which represent one of the most effective methods to mitigate mosquito-transmitted infectious diseases such as Malaria, Filaria, Zika, and Dengue.
- hierarchical structure
- long lasting insecticidal nets
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)