The plate-based armor of the threespine stickleback confers resistance to penetrating attacks due to local structure of individual plates, interlocking mechanisms, plate geometry, porosity, compositional gradients, and surface topology.
"Aside from evolutionary relevance, detailed studies of the structure and properties of biological armor hold broad applicability to the development of synthetic engineered, protective penetration-resistant materials (e.g., human body, vehicle, and building structure), protective coatings (e.g., exterior paint of automobiles, motorcycles, etc.), construction applications (e.g., pipelines that need resistance to rock penetration/abrasion), and sporting equipment (e.g., helmets, chest protection, etc.) (Arciszewski and Cornell, 2006; Bruet et al., 2008; Ortiz and Boyce, 2008; Yao et al., 2010). Particularly relevant are interlocking mechanisms, plate geometry, porosity, compositional gradients, surface topology, and their relation to penetration resistance and biomechanical mobility (mechanical mechanisms of movement in living organisms, e.g., joint degrees of freedom, ranges of motion, etc.)." (Song et al. 2010:320)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Song J; Reichert S; Kallai I; Gazit D; Wund M; Boyce MC; Ortiz C. 2010. Quantitative microstructural studies of the armor of the marine threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Journal of Structural Biology. 171: 318-331.
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