Beetle Fog-Catchers

How does a desert beetle living in the Namib Desert in southwest Africa survive in one of the hottest environments in the world? The only water there is available in the form of a morning fog, which travels rapidly across the desert only a few times each month. Zoologists at Oxford University have discovered regions of hydrophilic (water-loving) ridges and hydrophobic (water-avoiding) furrows on the back of the Stenocara beeetle. This pattern of hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions allows the fog to condense into droplets that run down into the beetle's mouth!

But how is this useful? In Chile's Atacama desert, fog nets are being used to harvest moisture. Today, scientists are mimicking the stenocara beetle to create man-made surfaces that can be used to make artificial fog nets and more effective de-humidifiers and distillation equipment.

Source: New Scientist American Chemical Society
Image Source: Squarecirclez

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