Have you ever wondered how frog tongues can catch any kind of bug and stick to it like it was made of glue? Scientists revealed what the secret behind this incredible stickiness may be. The answer is a simple one: spit.
The study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface found that the secret weapon of the frogs is saliva. Scientists found that it is not only sticky, but also can change physical properties.
They examined the saliva of the frog in combination with the soft and elastic tongue. The tests performed on the saliva found that it is a non-Newtonian fluid. This means that it has different properties than regular liquids.
Newtonian fluids are the typical liquids we know. They have the same properties, such as their flow and the way they fill containers, or the temperature at which they freeze, or many others.
And then there are the non-Newtonian fluids. Some of the most popular non-Newtonian fluids are melted chocolate, ketchup, or lava. They have different properties and act as if they had their own mind. Just imagine how cliffs can turn liquid when earthquakes occur.
Now a new fluid takes its place among the non-Newtonian ones and this is one frog saliva. Scientists searched it for the most unusual of properties and found that it is reversible. This means that the spit changes from a sticky substance to a thin liquid and back on.
Also, the frog tongue is softer than the human tongue and the two-way spit makes for a two-way tongue. The thin fluid form of the saliva helps the tongue stretch after bugs. When it catches a bug, the saliva becomes more fluid and spreads around it. When the tongue is ready to retract, the spit becomes thicker and captures the bug, making it way easier for the frog to get it into the mouth.
Scientists think that frog spit may inspire the creation of more effective adhesives. They may create resealable envelopes or containers with glue inspired from frog saliva. They may even create devices with technology based on the unique ways frogs capture their prey.
Until then, studying frogs and looking at their impressive ‘hunting’ technique is worth it only for the fun of it. Who thought that frog spit is so amazing?
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons