Water capture by a desert beetle

Nature. 2001 Nov 1;414(6859):33-4. doi: 10.1038/35102108.

Abstract

Some beetles in the Namib Desert collect drinking water from fog-laden wind on their backs. We show here that these large droplets form by virtue of the insect's bumpy surface, which consists of alternating hydrophobic, wax-coated and hydrophilic, non-waxy regions. The design of this fog-collecting structure can be reproduced cheaply on a commercial scale and may find application in water-trapping tent and building coverings, for example, or in water condensers and engines.

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Southern
  • Animals
  • Coleoptera / physiology*
  • Desert Climate
  • Water

Substances

  • Water