Abstract In medical robotics, micromanipulation becomes particularly challenging in the presence of blood and secretions. Nature offers many examples of adhesion strategies, which can be divided into two macro-categories: morphological adjustments and chemical adaptations. This paper analyzes how two successful specializations from different marine animals can converge into a single biomedical device usable in moist environments. Taking inspiration from the morphology of the octopus sucker and the chemistry of mussel secretions, we developed a protein-coated octopus-inspired micro-sucker device that retains in moist conditions about half of the adhesion it shows in dry environments. From a robotic perspective, this study emphasizes the advantages of taking inspiration from specialized natural solutions to optimize standard robotic designs.