A SEM image of the tarsal claw of the horsefly (Tabanus sulcifrons).

This scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the tarsal claw of the horsefly Tabanus sulcifrons juxtaposes the complexity and simplicity of “nature’s Velcro.” The menacing sturdiness of the tarsal claws contrasts with the delicate nature of the tarsal pad, with fine, hooked hairs that allow the fly to hold on to animal fur. Image Credit: Valerie A. Tornini, Duke University and the NSF.

A SEM image of the tarsal claw of the horsefly (Tabanus sulcifrons).

This scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the tarsal claw of the horsefly Tabanus sulcifrons juxtaposes the complexity and simplicity of “nature’s Velcro.” The menacing sturdiness of the tarsal claws contrasts with the delicate nature of the tarsal pad, with fine, hooked hairs that allow the fly to hold on to animal fur. Image Credit: Valerie A. Tornini, Duke University and the NSF.