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Epizoochory (20) More files...
While on an Alpine hunting trip with his canine companion, the Swiss inventor George de Mestral was inspired by the tenacious holding power of a Burdock seed which became entangled in the dog's fur. Through trial and error he copied the seed's natural mechanisms to invent the hook and loop material Velcro in 1948. This gallery of photos by Albert Lleal features the hooks, spines and barb structures of various seeds which help them disperse into new territories. Asters, carrots and burdock use animal fur to hitchhike to new locations, a process called epizoochory.
Carrot (Daucus carota) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 30x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536925 Carrot (Daucus carota) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 30x© Albert Lleal
Burdock (Arctium sp) entangled on the hair of a Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris), inspiration for the invention of Velcro  -  Albert Lleal
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00536919 Burdock (Arctium sp) entangled on the hair of a Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris), inspiration for the invention of Velcro© Albert Lleal
Blue Hound's Tongue (Cynoglossum creticum) noxious pasture weed seed with hooks to enable dispersal  -  Albert Lleal
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00536930 Blue Hound's Tongue (Cynoglossum creticum) noxious pasture weed seed with hooks to enable dispersal© Albert Lleal
Carrot (Daucus carota) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 1500x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536926 Carrot (Daucus carota) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 1500x© Albert Lleal
Carrot (Daucus carota) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 3000x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536927 Carrot (Daucus carota) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 3000x© Albert Lleal
Matakaro (Bidens pilosa) seed spines enable dispersal, native to tropical /nAmerica, magnification 130x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536932 Matakaro (Bidens pilosa) seed spines enable dispersal, native to tropical /nAmerica, magnification 130x© Albert Lleal
Aster (Asteraceae) fruit with spines to enable animal dispersal, magnification 56x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536933 Aster (Asteraceae) fruit with spines to enable animal dispersal, magnification 56x© Albert Lleal
Blue Hound's Tongue (Cynoglossum creticum) hooked seed spines enabling animal dispersal of seeds, native to Mediterranean Basis a noxious pasture weed elsewhere, magnification 97x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536934 Blue Hound's Tongue (Cynoglossum creticum) hooked seed spines enabling animal dispersal of seeds, native to Mediterranean Basis a noxious pasture weed elsewhere, magnification 97x© Albert Lleal
Burdock (Arctium sp) inflorescence cross-section with hooked spines, magnification 26x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536937 Burdock (Arctium sp) inflorescence cross-section with hooked spines, magnification 26x© Albert Lleal
Spiny Cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum) SEM close-up of curved spines on the fruit which adhere to the pelage of animals or clothes of humans and thus assist in dispersal away from the parent plant  -  Albert Lleal
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00780217 Spiny Cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum) SEM close-up of curved spines on the fruit which adhere to the pelage of animals or clothes of humans and thus assist in dispersal away from the parent plant© Albert Lleal
Sticky-willy (Galium aparine) fruits with hooked spines were inspiration for invention of Velcro  -  Albert Lleal
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00536920 Sticky-willy (Galium aparine) fruits with hooked spines were inspiration for invention of Velcro© Albert Lleal
Pacific Sanicle (Sanicula crassicaulis) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 20x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536923 Pacific Sanicle (Sanicula crassicaulis) hooked spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 20x© Albert Lleal
Pacific Sanicle (Sanicula crassicaulis) fruits covered in spines enable animal dispersal, magnification 20x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536924 Pacific Sanicle (Sanicula crassicaulis) fruits covered in spines enable animal dispersal, magnification 20x© Albert Lleal
Upright Hedge-parsley (Torilis japonica) spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 800x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536928 Upright Hedge-parsley (Torilis japonica) spines on seed enable animal dispersal, magnification 800x© Albert Lleal
Broad-leaf Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) fruits with hooked spines to enable animal dispersal, native to Europe and the Middle East, magnification 41x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536929 Broad-leaf Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) fruits with hooked spines to enable animal dispersal, native to Europe and the Middle East, magnification 41x© Albert Lleal
Medick (Medicago sp) fruit covered in spines to enable animal dispersal, magnification 17x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536935 Medick (Medicago sp) fruit covered in spines to enable animal dispersal, magnification 17x© Albert Lleal
Medick (Medicago sp) fruit with spines to enable animal dispersal, magnification 20x  -  Albert Lleal
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00536936 Medick (Medicago sp) fruit with spines to enable animal dispersal, magnification 20x© Albert Lleal
Rough Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) fruit showing hooks and spines that aid in dispersal  -  Albert Lleal
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00546171 Rough Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) fruit showing hooks and spines that aid in dispersal© Albert Lleal
Strawflower (Helichrysum sp) achene, magnified 42 times, Barcelona, Spain
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00560342 Strawflower (Helichrysum sp) achene, magnified 42 times, Barcelona, Spain© Albert Lleal
Spiny Cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum) hooks on fruit
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00565309 Spiny Cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum) hooks on fruit© Albert Lleal
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