Geckos and Their Newly Discovered Water-Walking Abilities

Over 1,200 species of animals in the world have the ability to move rapidly across the surface of some of the liquids that they come in contact with, which makes it appear that they are walking on top of them. Others, like water spiders, can hang out on the surface of a liquid without moving at all. But it has only been recently that it was discovered that the tiny gecko can perform this remarkable feat too.

According to techtimes.com, after it was observed that a gecko was able to scurry across a small puddle of water with ease, researchers became interested in learning how they were able to do it. What they discovered was that the tiny lizards rely on the pressure of the surface tension of a liquid to push themselves across it. They also paddle quite quickly as they run, which causes the formation of tiny air bubbles that seem to aid in keeping them afloat.

One of the experiments that was used to test the gecko’s ability to move across the surface of water involved the addition of various amounts of soap to see what its impact would be. Since soap reduced the water’s surface tension and acted like a lubricant, it lowered the speed with which the lizards could run across it by half. Increasing the surface tension of a liquid with salt or some other substance made it easier for them to walk on it. So their speed accelerated.