Supplementary material from "Self-assembly of the butterfly proboscis: the role of capillary forces"

Posted on 12.07.2018 - 12:47
The proboscis of butterflies and moths consists of two C-shaped fibres, the galeae, which are united after the insect emerges from the pupa. We observed that proboscis self-assembly is facilitated by discharge of saliva. In contrast with vertebrate saliva, butterfly saliva is not slimy and is an almost inviscid, water-like fluid. Butterfly saliva, therefore, cannot offer any viscoelastic adhesiveness. We hypothesized that capillary forces are responsible for helping butterflies and moths pull and hold their galeae together while uniting them mechanically. Theoretical analysis supported by X-ray micro-computed tomography on columnar liquid bridges suggests that both concave and convex liquid bridges are able to pull the galeae together. Theoretical and experimental analyses of capillary forces acting on natural and artificial proboscises show that these forces are sufficiently high to hold the galeae together.


Zhang, Chengqi; H. Adler, Peter; Monaenkova, Daria; Andrukh, Taras; Pometto, Suellen; Beard, Charles E.; et al. (2018): Supplementary material from "Self-assembly of the butterfly proboscis: the role of capillary forces". The Royal Society. Collection.
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Journal of the Royal Society Interface


Chengqi Zhang
Peter H. Adler
Daria Monaenkova
Taras Andrukh
Suellen Pometto
Charles E. Beard
Konstantin G. Kornev
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