ABOVE: Gecko running across water

Geckos can race across the surface of water almost as speedily as they run on land, researchers reported in Current Biology yesterday (December 6). High-speed video captured the lizards (Hemidactylus platyurus) swinging their bodies and tails from side to side and slapping the water with their legs to get themselves going and keep their heads above water. They’re also helped by the water’s surface tension and their superhydrophobic skin, which likely helps to cut drag.

Running gecko
Cell Press

J. Nirody, et al., “Geckos race across the water’s surface using multiple mechanisms,” Current Biology, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.10.064, 2018.

Correction (December 7): The original version of this article incorrectly used a gif showing a gecko unable to run on water with surfactant added to lower its surface tension. The new gif shows the gecko running on unmodified water. The Scientist regrets the...

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!