Meeting Abstract

22.1  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Variation in Stickiness: Using the Weibull Distribution to Quantify Adhesion across Geckos HAGEY, Travis; University of Idaho

Adaptation is a major process in the diversification of life on earth. Studies of adaptation often rely on patterns of correlated morphology, performance, and habitat preferences. Gecko lizards are an excellent system to study these patterns of adaptation, as they are a species rich group with highly variable morphology. Well known for their climbing ability, geckos have unique adhesive toe pads. The shape and size of these adhesive pads vary across genera. Unfortunately, statistical measurements of geckos’ adhesive capabilities can be difficult. To estimate and compare adhesion between species, we suggest using a failure analysis technique relying on the Weibull distribution. The generation of adhesion relies on the amount of friction a gecko’s toe pad generates, and measuring the angle of toe detachment is a proxy for the efficiency with which a gecko can translate frictional forces into adhesion. We can estimate the most likely angle of toe detachment with the Weibull analysis. Using this method, we have evaluated the adhesive capabilities of nearly 40 species, sampling across the phylogeny. Establishing standard methods to quantify performance and significant variation between and within species is a valuable first step in examining how geckos have adapted to a wide array of habitat types across the globe.