Author Topic: Darkling beetles of the Namib  (Read 2140 times)

Offline RedWurm

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Darkling beetles of the Namib
« on: July 16, 2014, 04:07:05 PM »

There are a wide variety of Darkling beetles that live in the Namib desert, ranging in colour from black to white (admittedly, mainly black or white) and in appearance from cute to deeply unsettling, but many have one thing in common - they spend the cold, foggy mornings standing on the top of sand dunes, arse in the air, collecting water droplets on their wing casings.

This "Fog-Basking" uses hydrophilic spots on their mainly hydrophobic bodies to start water droplet formation, and when these drops get too big they run down into the beetle's mouth. This very design is now being adapted into materials that are able to condense water from the air with much greater efficiency in areas with little access to clean groundwater.

Incidentally, Wikipedia tells me "In southwestern North America, species of the genus Eleodes (particularly E. obscurus) are well known as "pinacate beetles" or "desert stink beetles"."