How do geckos gallop across the water?

Geckos are renowned for their agility on land, but they also have a unique way of running across the surface of water. ©Bernard Spragg

Geckos can be seen maneuvering through rugged terrain, walking on walls and performing what seem like acrobatic maneuvers in the air. But researchers were recently able to capture a video of a movement they had never seen before — a gecko hopping across the water. They were stumped because of the animal’s size. Geckos are too large to depend on surface tension and too small to keep themselves up by force. The recent study documents how geckos are able to perform this maneuver at quick speeds. The research team reproduced the geckos’ behavior in the lab and recorded their movements. They found the reptiles slap the water, creating air bubbles, which generate extra force to help their body stay above the surface.

Read the study published in Current Biology.