dennis kunkel

Nature News & Comment

This microscopic image shows the forest-like arrangement of hairs on a gecko’s toe that gives the animal its gravity-defying ability to scurry across ceilings.

Each foot has hundreds of thousands of these hairs, called setae, which fray into smaller hairs with split ends called spatulae. The hairs’ strong grip has inspired the design of medical adhesives.

This image was taken by Dennis Kunkel, a photomicrographer in Hawaii. It is part of Life: Magnified, an exhibition of scientific images on display at Washington Dulles International Airport’s Gateway Gallery from June to November.

Nature News & Comment

Gecko lizard toe hairs

This up-close look at a gecko’s foot shows some of its 500,000 or so toe hairs, each of which is about one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. These hairs split into smaller hairs that fray into spatula-shaped structures, which give geckos their gravity-defying ability to scamper up walls and across ceilings. The strong-yet-gentle grip of gecko feet has inspired the design of medical adhesives for use on delicate skin.

Credit: Dennis Kunkel, Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.