Image of the Day: Geckos on the Run
Image of the Day: Geckos on the Run

Image of the Day: Geckos on the Run

Surface slapping and side-to-side swinging let geckos sprint across water.

Dec 7, 2018
Carolyn Wilke

ABOVE: Gecko running across water
CELL PRESS

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 Biologydoi: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 error.