Feather Mites Cling to Feathers


Feather mites are covered from head to toe with long bristly hairs that help them cling to feathers. They also have hooks on their tarsals, the foot joints farthest from their torsos. Mites use their hooks to attach themselves to the fat shafts in the middle of bird feathers. Feather mites have evolved along with bird wings so that their hooks fit feather shafts well, allowing them the greatest possible gripping power. There are as many different types and shapes of feather mites as there are birds.

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Feather mite hooks can inspire the creation of car parts, architectural materials, etc. that attach snugly to other parts and do not easily come loose. When developing parts, designers could optimize adhesive properties by modifying a single element of the part rather than the overall design, taking into account the example of feather mite hooks. The example of having hooks on moving parts like legs could be used to develop new technologies for transporting goods.

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