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Gray Treefrogs’ Self-cleaning Toe Pads

Scientists have discovered that the angle of the toe pads and a secretion of mucus are involved in a treefrog’s ability to stick to wet, smooth leaves, rough, dry trees and other surfaces. They also allow the toes to “self-clean.” 

To make their feet sticky treefrogs secrete mucus. They increase their adhesion by moving their feet against the surface of what they are clinging to in order to create friction. As a frog moves across a surface, its feet accumulate dirt, which impedes its ability to stick to the surface it’s walking on. Scientists have discovered that the mucus combined with this friction-creating movement not only allows the frog to adhere to the surface but simultaneously rids their feet of accumulated dirt and debris as they walk.

This remarkable adaptation may provide a design for self-cleaning sticky surfaces, which could be useful for a wide range of products, especially in contaminating environments such as medical bandages and long-lasting adhesives. (Thanks to Janice Perry for photo opportunity.)

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6 responses

  1. Alice

    So they really leave dirty footsteps. I love these frogs…their eyes & bodies are just so amazing. I wonder why this one has such a dark eye…I have taken photos of a totally different eye with patterns in it.

    August 5, 2022 at 9:07 am

    • Alice

      They have an eyelid around their iris, that is patterned.

      August 5, 2022 at 9:27 am

  2. I love our (grey) Treefrogs! There was one on the deck, on the other side ledge part of the deck where the criss/cross railing is, just sitting on the edge! Don’t know if it was shocked/stunned by something? It was breathing so it was alive, and then it disappeared/left on it’s own, hope it was well! 🙂 ❤

    How about showing us a Katydid and tell us about their sound? I tell people all of the time what they are hearing at night two calls followed by three calls is a Katydid call! I'm in Franklin MA! 🙂 ❤

    August 5, 2022 at 9:48 am

    • I’ll try to do a katydid post before summer ends! Thanks!

      August 5, 2022 at 1:49 pm

  3. Kim H

    Very cool! ❤️🐸

    August 5, 2022 at 7:14 pm

  4. Bob Brooks

    Hi MaryThis guy was walking on my kitchen window for a couple of hours one night. Is this a grey tree frog? Bob /


    August 6, 2022 at 7:16 pm

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