Caddisfly Larva Image 2
1477 of 3588

Caddisfly Larva (Image 2)

July 30, 2010
This caddisfly larva lives underwater and spins natural sticky silk to build an underwater mobile home, or case, made of sand and rock grains (right half of image). But when placed in a laboratory aquarium with glass beads, the larva uses those beads to continue building its case (center).

Russell Stewart, an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Utah, is principal investigator of a study on the chemical and structural properties of caddisfly silk that was funded by the National Science Foundation (grant DMR 09-06014). He has characterized the caddisfly's wet adhesive silk and hopes to develop a synthetic version that could be used as a surgical adhesive in surgery.

Working in his lab, Stewart, who studied the caddisfly species B. echo from the lower Provo River, Utah, discovered that caddisfly adhesive can bond to a wide range of surfaces underwater, including hard and soft and organic and inorganic. Such adhesion could be used on a wide range of tissue types in the medical field.

comments powered by Disqus