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Butterfly proboscis

It's often a butterfly's wings that capture our attention, but scientists at Clemson University are intrigued with another part of the butterfly called the proboscis. It's an elongated, tube-shaped, sucking mouthpart that the insect can uncoil, similar to the way an elephant uncoils its trunk. With support from the National Science Foundation, materials scientist Kostya Kornev, biologist Peter Adler and their team at Clemson University are studying the evolution of the proboscis, its biomechanical properties and the physics of how it works to make synthetic fibers with similar properties. And, this is no simple sipper! It's actually two tubes that can come apart and then naturally come back together, so it's self-repairing.

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