Textured fluorapatite bonded to calcium sulphate strengthen stomatopod raptorial appendages

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Shahrouz Amini - , Nanyang Technological University (Author)
  • Admir Masic - , Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Author)
  • Luca Bertinetti - , Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Author)
  • Jefri Sanusi Teguh - , Nanyang Technological University (Author)
  • Jason S. Herrin - , Nanyang Technological University (Author)
  • Xi Zhu - , Nanyang Technological University (Author)
  • Haibin Su - , Nanyang Technological University (Author)
  • Ali Miserez - , Nanyang Technological University (Author)


Stomatopods are shallow-water crustaceans that employ powerful dactyl appendages to hunt their prey. Deployed at high velocities, these hammer-like clubs or spear-like devices are able to inflict substantial impact forces. Here we demonstrate that dactyl impact surfaces consist of a finely-tuned mineral gradient, with fluorapatite substituting amorphous apatite towards the outer surface. Raman spectroscopy measurements show that calcium sulphate, previously not reported in mechanically active biotools, is co-localized with fluorapatite. Ab initio computations suggest that fluorapatite/calcium sulphate interfaces provide binding stability and promote the disordered-to-ordered transition of fluorapatite. Nanomechanical measurements show that fluorapatite crystalline orientation correlates with an anisotropic stiffness response and indicate significant differences in the fracture tolerance between the two types of appendages. Our findings shed new light on the crystallochemical and microstructural strategies allowing these intriguing biotools to optimize impact forces, providing physicochemical information that could be translated towards the synthesis of impact-resistant functional materials and coatings.


Original languageEnglish
Article number3187
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

External IDs

PubMed 24476684
ORCID /0000-0002-4666-9610/work/142238932