The rock-climbing fish (Beaufortia kweichowensis) adheres to slippery, fouled surfaces and crawls both forward and backward in torrential streams. During locomotion, two suckers can be distinguished. Here, the general skeletal structure of the rock-climbing fish was determined using microtomography. Friction and adhesion were positively correlated, as were friction and fin ray angle. The unique adhesive locomotion system used by the rock-climbing fish was observed with a high speed camera. This system comprised two anisotropic suckers bearing two paired fins and two girdle muscles. A locomotion model was established based on these results. In this model, the fin states controlled the direction of motion using anisotropic friction, and alternate contractions of the girdle muscles provided propulsion during bidirectional crawling. This adhesive locomotion system was compared with other biological locomotion mechanisms. Based on these comparisons, we hypothesized that this novel system might represent an energy-saving solution for undulatory underwater vertical movement without detaching from the substrate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas