Scientists at Georgia Tech Research Institute are working to develop adhesives based on the remoras, a fish that commonly attaches to sharks or other large marine animals, for protection and food. Nurse shark with remoras attending. Image © wikipedia.
Ramoras attach to a larger fish using a structure that resembles a suction cup and can attach and detach in salt water, without doing damage to the other fish.
Remora-based adhesive could be useful for surgical or other medical applications.
According to Georgia Tech Research Institute:
When a shark is spotted in the ocean, humans and marine animals alike usually flee. But not the remora – this fish will instead swim right up to a shark and attach itself to the predator using a suction disk located on the top of its head. While we know why remoras attach to larger marine animals – for transportation, protection and food – the question of how they attach and detach from hosts without appearing to harm them remains unanswered.
“While other creatures with unique adhesive properties – such as geckos, tree frogs and insects – have been the inspiration for laboratory-fabricated adhesives, the remora has been overlooked until now,” said GTRI senior research engineer Jason Nadler. “The remora’s attachment mechanism is quite different from other suction cup-based systems, fasteners or adhesives that can only attach to smooth surfaces or cannot be detached without damaging the host.”