JUL 08, 2016 3:12 PM PDT

Chameleons Have Spit Up to 400 Times Stickier Than Ours

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Chameleons are amazing creatures because of the unique ability they have stowed away in their tongues.
 

Chameleons don't have manners; they just fling their tongues to capture prey.

 Image Credit: National Geographic

Acting a projectile, a chameleon’s tongue exits the mouth at such a high rate of speed that if you compared it to a car, it could travel from 0-60 miles per hour in 1/100th of a second.
 
You’ve probably seen footage of a chameleon using its tongue as a slingshot to capture prey, and there’s a reason they’re able to do this.
 
As pointed out in research conducted by a team led by Pascal Damman from the Université de Mons in Belgium, which involved measuring the viscosity of the saliva in a chameleon’s mouth, they found that chameleon saliva is approximately 400 times stickier than human saliva.
 
The team’s full findings are published in the journal Nature Physics, anything within a third of a chameleon’s body weight can be plucked by the creature’s tongue.
 
“This unexpectedly large mucus viscosity strongly suggests that the prey sticks to the chameleon’s tongue through viscous adhesion,” the research team said.
 
The sticky saliva, paired with the shape of the tongue, allows the lassoed projectile to grab adequately-sized prey and snag it right into the lizard’s mouth with insane accuracy.
 
The following video, shared to the team’s YouTube channel, shows a chameleon using its oddly-shaped tongue and sticky saliva to capture a cricket:
 


 
Because the tip of the tongue has a larger surface area than most tongues, anything that gets hit by it is going to stick to it far better than it would to a normal-shaped tongue.
 
Having this highly capable tool packed away in their mouths, all a chameleon has to do is sit and wait until its prey comes to it, and then it can launch its tongue from its mouth without even moving to eat when it’s hungry.
 
Truly fascinating, to say the least!

Source: The Verge, National Geographic

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Do Spiders Behave in Zero Gravity?
DEC 29, 2020
How Do Spiders Behave in Zero Gravity?
The International Space Station (ISS) is a treasure trove of scientific intrigue. But it's not just life-saving drug ...
JAN 12, 2021
Earth & The Environment
What will become of the sharks?
JAN 12, 2021
What will become of the sharks?
What will be the future of sharks? These animals that have been around for 450 million years are in danger, threatened b ...
JAN 21, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
A Practical Reason Why Cats Love Catnip
JAN 21, 2021
A Practical Reason Why Cats Love Catnip
Cats love catnip and silver vine; the cat-attracting plants are treats that make cats excited and happy. Big cats also f ...
FEB 19, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Where is fern diversity most prevalent in the world and why should we care?
FEB 19, 2021
Where is fern diversity most prevalent in the world and why should we care?
Why are some areas of the world more biodiverse than others? In an effort to understand what factors contribute to the u ...
FEB 23, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Dogs Versus AI-Powered Diagnostic Devices-Who Won?
FEB 23, 2021
Dogs Versus AI-Powered Diagnostic Devices-Who Won?
We’ve heard of dogs sniffing out cancer—an unsurprising skill given that they have over 200 million scent re ...
MAR 07, 2021
Plants & Animals
What's Terroir and Does Whiskey Have It?
MAR 07, 2021
What's Terroir and Does Whiskey Have It?
Terroir is a term usually associated with wine; it describes the environmental characteristics like climate and soil tha ...
Loading Comments...