A frog can snatch an insect so quickly that it’s easy to miss its whip-like tongue. Slow-motion footage captured by researchers at Georgia Tech reveal just how complex that action really is.
They discovered that the frog’s tongue is as soft as brain tissue, and can stretch like a spring or bungee cord. To ensure that the frog doesn’t drop its victim as the tongue starts to retract, its saliva performs an incredible trick: The spit changes mid-grab from watery to more viscous. Then it goes back to watery to let the bug slide off the tongue as the frog swallows its meal. Researchers hope taking a cue from frog saliva will help them develop new adhesives.
Watch our video to see how a frog makes sure it grabs—and keeps—its prey.