The northern clingfish is a species of salt-water fish that truly lives up to its name. The remarkably strong fish has such high suction powers that it can pick up and hold on to stuff that’s almost 300 times its own body weight. It can easily outperform all sorts of man-made suction cups. Scientists are now actively studying the fish so they can mimic its design and create a new class of suction devices.
There are currently around 160 known varieties of clingfish in the world, each with its own unique characteristics. There’s a tiny one that sticks itself to the individual spines of sea urchins, a deep-sea variety with not much of a sucker, and a giant one that’s about the size of your forearm. One of the most well-known varieties is the northern clingfish, thanks to studies conducted by biologist and researcher Adam Summers, from the University of Washington.
Native to the Pacific Coast of North America, the northern clingfish lives in rocky intertidal environments, where strong waves and currents can toss them out at any moment. In order to survive in its natural habitat, the clingfish has evolved an adhesion disc that covers about a quarter of its belly. Using this disc, it can stick on to almost any surfaces.