Catcher in the cave - fishing strategy of the jamaican midge Neoditomyia farri 
FWF project P 24531; Janek von Byern (2012) 


There is a continual need for bonding substances that can be used in wound heeling (hard and soft tissue) as well as in medical or dental implants. Unfortunately, today's synthetic adhesives often have the disadvantage of exhibiting a reduced range of application or of being highly toxic. The development of new, specific adhesive polymers based on natural adhesives (keyword "bionic") is an important aspect in material research and offers an opportunity for new medical applications. These biological adhesives differ clearly in their structure, composition and function from synthetically manufactured products. Nevertheless, our knowledge about the composition and characteristics of most biological adhesives is still marginal and limited. Insects use adhesives in highly diverse ways.

The best-known function is the use of adhesive threads to capture prey. So far, most knowledge about these adhesives is based on spiders; detailed investigations in other insect groups are largely missing. The present investigation offers, for the first time, the possibility to characterize the adhesive composition and bonding mechanisms in dipterans in detail. The planned research project deals with the morphology of the adhesive glands in the dipterian species Neoditomyia farri and focuses the biochemical analyses on the composition and function of these adhesives. The results are expected to characterize the sticking mechanism and to determine the chemical nature of the adhesives. Beyond the biochemical results on the structure and function of the adhesives, the results will provide the basis for new biomimetic applications in industry and medicine.


von Byern, J., Dorrer, V., Merritt, D.J., Chandler, P., Stringer, I., Marchetti-Deschmann, M., McNaughton, M., Cyran, N., Thiel, K., Noeske, M and Grunwald, I. 2016: “ Characterization of the fishing lines in Titiwai (=Arachnocampa luminosa Skuse, 1890) from New Zealand and Australia”. Plos One 11 (12)