Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Wet adhesion and adhesive locomotion of snails on anti-adhesive non-wetting surfaces

By Neil Shirtcliffe, Glen McHale and Michael Newton


Creating surfaces capable of resisting liquid-mediated adhesion is extremely difficult due to the strong capillary forces that exist between surfaces. Land snails use this to adhere to and traverse across almost any type of solid surface of any orientation (horizontal, vertical or inverted), texture (smooth, rough or granular) or wetting property (hydrophilic or hydrophobic) via a layer of mucus. However, the wetting properties that enable snails to generate strong temporary attachment and the effectiveness of this adhesive locomotion on modern super-slippy superhydrophobic surfaces are unclear. Here we report that snail adhesion overcomes a wide range of these microscale and nanoscale topographically structured non-stick surfaces. For the one surface which we found to be snail resistant, we show that the effect is correlated with the wetting response of the surface to a weak surfactant. Our results elucidate some critical wetting factors for the design of anti-adhesive and bio-adhesion resistant surfaces

Topics: C100, F200, F300
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1981). A quantitative model for the adhesive locomotion of the terrestrial slug,
  2. (1950). Adhesion of solids and the effect of surface films.
  3. (2004). Amirfazli A
  4. (2002). Biochemical differences between trail mucus and adhesive mucus from marsh periwinkle snails.
  5. (1992). Contact-angle, wetting and adhesion – A critical review.
  6. (2008). Effect of contact angle hysteresis on the measurement of capillary forces.
  7. (2011). Electrically assisted drop sliding on inclined planes.
  8. (2007). From superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic surfaces tuned by surfactant solutions.
  9. (1997). Gast A
  10. (1980). Locomotion - The cost of gastropod crawling.
  11. (2007). Mechanical devices for snail-like locomotion,
  12. (2009). Nonlinear viscoelastic biomaterials: meaningful characterization and engineering inspiration,
  13. (1983). On the ability of drops or bubbles to stick to nonhorizontal surfaces of solids.
  14. (2008). Progress in superhydrophobic surface development.
  15. (2007). Rheological fingerprinting of gastropod pedal mucus and synthetic complex fluids for biomimicking adhesive locomotion,
  16. (2003). Slippy and sticky microtextured solids.
  17. (2007). Superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic transitions of sol-gel films for temperature, alcohol or surfactant measurement.
  18. (2006). Surfactant adsorption at superhydrophobic surfaces.
  19. (2010). Surfactants and wetting at superhydrophobic surfaces: Water solutions and non aqueous liquids.
  20. (2008). Teflon is hydrophilic. Comments on definitions of hydrophobic, shear versus tensile hydrophobicity, and wettability characterization.
  21. (2004). The effect of molluscan glue proteins on gel mechanics.
  22. (1980). The role of gastropod pedal mucus in locomotion.
  23. (2011). The superhydrophobicity of polymer surfaces: Recent developments.
  24. (2003). Tribology of a snail (terrestrial gastropod).

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.