Fire-detecting beetle

Fire-detecting beetle

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This image is part of the feature Amazing Beetles
This image is part of the feature Fire Research

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fire-detecting beetle. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a Melanophila acuminata beetle, which is able to detect distant fires. This beetle lays its eggs in burnt trees, and the larvae burrow into the damaged wood. To find burnt trees, the beetle has sensitive infrared detectors known as sensilla (not seen) behind its second legs. It can detect fires from up to 12 kilometres away. Researchers are studying this ability with the aim of creating new heat recognition systems. These will hopefully be able to identify humans and machinery by their heat over much greater distances than is currently possible, and could also help detect fires in buildings. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: animal, antennae, beetle, biological, biology, coloured, compound eyes, detector, false-coloured, fauna, fire detecting beetle, fire-detecting, flames, forest fire, infrared, infrared sensor, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, jointed legs, melanophila acuminata, melanophila sp., natural, nature, one, scanning electron micrograph, sem, sensilla, sensillium, single, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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