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Fire-detecting beetle

Fire-detecting beetle


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Fire-detecting beetle

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

Science Photo Library features Science and Medical images including photos and illustrations

Media ID 6461927

© VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Antennae Beetle Compound Eyes Detector Flames Forest Fire Infra Red Insecta Jointed Legs Natural Sensilla False Coloured


EDITORS COMMENTS
This print showcases the incredible abilities of a fire-detecting beetle, known as Melanophila acuminata. The coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) reveals the intricate details of this remarkable insect that can detect distant fires with astonishing accuracy. The image highlights the beetle's unique adaptation to its environment. Behind its second legs, sensilla - sensitive infrared detectors - are not visible but play a crucial role in detecting burnt trees from up to 12 kilometers away. This fascinating behavior is what makes these beetles lay their eggs in charred wood and allows their larvae to burrow into damaged trees. Scientists are closely studying this extraordinary ability with hopes of developing advanced heat recognition systems inspired by nature's design. These cutting-edge technologies could revolutionize human and machinery identification over vast distances, surpassing current capabilities significantly. Moreover, they hold promise for enhancing fire detection within buildings. The magnification used in capturing this SEM remains unknown, but it beautifully captures the compound eyes and jointed legs of this small yet mighty creature against a backdrop resembling flames. As we explore the realms of zoology and biology through such mesmerizing images, we gain deeper insights into our natural world while uncovering potential solutions for pressing challenges like fire prevention and improved thermal sensing technology. This awe-inspiring photograph from Science Photo Library serves as a reminder that even tiny organisms can possess extraordinary abilities that have far-reaching implications for our own technological advancements and understanding of nature's wonders.

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