Tree frogs have specially adapted self-cleaning feet, scientists have discovered. They say these feet could help in practical applications for the medical industry and designing self-cleaning surfaces.
"Tree frog feet may provide a design for self-cleaning sticky surfaces, which could be useful for a wide range of products especially in contaminating environments - medical bandages, tyre performance, and even long lasting adhesives," said researcher, Niall Crawford at the University of Glasgow.
Tree frogs have sticky pads on their toes that they use to cling on in difficult situations, but until now it was unclear how they prevent these pads from picking up dirt.
"Interestingly the same factors that allow tree frogs to cling on also provide a self cleaning service," explained Crawford.
"To make their feet sticky tree frogs secrete mucus, they can then increase their adhesion by moving their feet against the surface to create friction.
"We have now shown that the mucus combined with this movement allows the frogs to clean their feet as they walk," he added.
The study was presented recently at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow.