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Keratinized Epidermal Derivatives as an Aid to Climbing in Gekkonid Lizards


THE ability of gekkonid lizards to climb up vertical glass surfaces and to hang upside-down on ceilings is a problem which has attracted the attention of numerous workers. All of them1–3 have referred to the presence of microscopic bristles on the undersides of the feet which are apparently associated with the animal's climbing ability. However, the exact histological structure of the bristles has not been described, and even Altevogt's3 electron-microscope observations contain no reference to the nature and histological origin of the bristles. The lack of information on the histological structure of the squamate epidermis, for the bristles are, in fact, epidermal derivatives, precluded any precise interpretation.

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  1. Schmidt, W. J., Zool. Jahrb. abt. Anat., 36, 377 (1913).

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  2. Mahendra, B. C., Proc. Ind. Acad. Sci., 13, 5, B (1941).

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  3. Altevogt, R., Kosmos, Stutt., 50, 428 (1954).

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  4. Maderson, P. F. A., Brit. J. Herp., 4 (June 1964).

  5. Maderson, P. F. A. (in the press).

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MADERSON, P. Keratinized Epidermal Derivatives as an Aid to Climbing in Gekkonid Lizards. Nature 203, 780–781 (1964).

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