10 December 2012
Porcupine's prickly defence mystery solved
By Ella Davies Reporter, BBC Nature
The North American porcupine is also known as a 'quill pig'
Porcupine quills easily penetrate flesh but prove hard to remove due to microscopic barbs, say scientists.
North American porcupines are famed for their unique defence as they carry 30,000 quills on their backs.
Researchers studied the structures to understand how they effortlessly enter flesh but do not leave as smoothly.
Tiny backward-facing barbs studding the tip of each quill were found to reduce penetration force and maximise staying power. (...)
Full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20628302