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The morphology and adhesion mechanism of Octopus vulgaris suckers.

Tramacere F, Beccai L, Kuba M, Gozzi A, Bifone A, Mazzolai B - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We use three different techniques (MRI, ultrasonography, and histology) and a 3D reconstruction approach to contribute knowledge on both morphology and functionality of the sucker structure in O. vulgaris.The results of our investigation are two-fold.In particular, in O. vulgaris the acetabular chamber, that is a hollow spherical cavity in other octopuses, shows an ellipsoidal cavity which roof has an important protuberance with surface roughness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Pontedera, Italy. francesca.tramacere@iit.it

ABSTRACT
The octopus sucker represents a fascinating natural system performing adhesion on different terrains and substrates. Octopuses use suckers to anchor the body to the substrate or to grasp, investigate and manipulate objects, just to mention a few of their functions. Our study focuses on the morphology and adhesion mechanism of suckers in Octopus vulgaris. We use three different techniques (MRI, ultrasonography, and histology) and a 3D reconstruction approach to contribute knowledge on both morphology and functionality of the sucker structure in O. vulgaris. The results of our investigation are two-fold. First, we observe some morphological differences with respect to the octopus species previously studied (i.e., Octopus joubini, Octopus maya, Octopus bimaculoides/bimaculatus and Eledone cirrosa). In particular, in O. vulgaris the acetabular chamber, that is a hollow spherical cavity in other octopuses, shows an ellipsoidal cavity which roof has an important protuberance with surface roughness. Second, based on our findings, we propose a hypothesis on the sucker adhesion mechanism in O. vulgaris. We hypothesize that the process of continuous adhesion is achieved by sealing the orifice between acetabulum and infundibulum portions via the acetabular protuberance. We suggest this to take place while the infundibular part achieves a completely flat shape; and, by sustaining adhesion through preservation of sucker configuration. In vivo ultrasonographic recordings support our proposed adhesion model by showing the sucker in action. Such an underlying physical mechanism offers innovative potential cues for developing bioinspired artificial adhesion systems. Furthermore, we think that it could possibly represent a useful approach in order to investigate any potential difference in the ecology and in the performance of adhesion by different species.

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Histological transversal sections of O. vulgaris sucker.Picro-Ponceau staining. A) The scale bar equals 2.5 mm. In the image we can observe the protuberance at the central part of the acetabulum roof. B) Enlargement of the black box in A showing the protuberance surface roughness.
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pone-0065074-g002: Histological transversal sections of O. vulgaris sucker.Picro-Ponceau staining. A) The scale bar equals 2.5 mm. In the image we can observe the protuberance at the central part of the acetabulum roof. B) Enlargement of the black box in A showing the protuberance surface roughness.

Mentions: Results on the morphology of the Octopus vulgaris suckers, obtained by using histology, showed that the acetabulum is similar to an ellipsoid, which appeared in fact flattened at the poles (Figure 2A). The O. vulgaris acetabulum inside presents a spherical cap cavity with a protuberance in its central part (Figure 2A–B), as it was already reported by [3], [4] and depicted by Young [23] and Wells [24]. A simplified schematic of the acetabulum is provided in Figure 3.


The morphology and adhesion mechanism of Octopus vulgaris suckers.

Tramacere F, Beccai L, Kuba M, Gozzi A, Bifone A, Mazzolai B - PLoS ONE (2013)

Histological transversal sections of O. vulgaris sucker.Picro-Ponceau staining. A) The scale bar equals 2.5 mm. In the image we can observe the protuberance at the central part of the acetabulum roof. B) Enlargement of the black box in A showing the protuberance surface roughness.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3672162&req=5

pone-0065074-g002: Histological transversal sections of O. vulgaris sucker.Picro-Ponceau staining. A) The scale bar equals 2.5 mm. In the image we can observe the protuberance at the central part of the acetabulum roof. B) Enlargement of the black box in A showing the protuberance surface roughness.
Mentions: Results on the morphology of the Octopus vulgaris suckers, obtained by using histology, showed that the acetabulum is similar to an ellipsoid, which appeared in fact flattened at the poles (Figure 2A). The O. vulgaris acetabulum inside presents a spherical cap cavity with a protuberance in its central part (Figure 2A–B), as it was already reported by [3], [4] and depicted by Young [23] and Wells [24]. A simplified schematic of the acetabulum is provided in Figure 3.

Bottom Line: We use three different techniques (MRI, ultrasonography, and histology) and a 3D reconstruction approach to contribute knowledge on both morphology and functionality of the sucker structure in O. vulgaris.The results of our investigation are two-fold.In particular, in O. vulgaris the acetabular chamber, that is a hollow spherical cavity in other octopuses, shows an ellipsoidal cavity which roof has an important protuberance with surface roughness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Pontedera, Italy. francesca.tramacere@iit.it

ABSTRACT
The octopus sucker represents a fascinating natural system performing adhesion on different terrains and substrates. Octopuses use suckers to anchor the body to the substrate or to grasp, investigate and manipulate objects, just to mention a few of their functions. Our study focuses on the morphology and adhesion mechanism of suckers in Octopus vulgaris. We use three different techniques (MRI, ultrasonography, and histology) and a 3D reconstruction approach to contribute knowledge on both morphology and functionality of the sucker structure in O. vulgaris. The results of our investigation are two-fold. First, we observe some morphological differences with respect to the octopus species previously studied (i.e., Octopus joubini, Octopus maya, Octopus bimaculoides/bimaculatus and Eledone cirrosa). In particular, in O. vulgaris the acetabular chamber, that is a hollow spherical cavity in other octopuses, shows an ellipsoidal cavity which roof has an important protuberance with surface roughness. Second, based on our findings, we propose a hypothesis on the sucker adhesion mechanism in O. vulgaris. We hypothesize that the process of continuous adhesion is achieved by sealing the orifice between acetabulum and infundibulum portions via the acetabular protuberance. We suggest this to take place while the infundibular part achieves a completely flat shape; and, by sustaining adhesion through preservation of sucker configuration. In vivo ultrasonographic recordings support our proposed adhesion model by showing the sucker in action. Such an underlying physical mechanism offers innovative potential cues for developing bioinspired artificial adhesion systems. Furthermore, we think that it could possibly represent a useful approach in order to investigate any potential difference in the ecology and in the performance of adhesion by different species.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus