hydrophobic properties of the beetles' elytra. Some dig trenches in the sand, while others use their own bodies as fog collectors assuming a characteristic fog-basking stance. The solution: In 2001, researchers explained how the darkling beetle's water collection system worked and claimed that it was possible to easily and extensively imitate it. This is how water collection is done in desert regions where the temperatures drop drastically at night making it easier to collect water via condensation. Article Beetles killed by freezing had their legs and antennae removed and were positioned head down at an angle of 23° in a fog chamber. The beetles differ greatly in size. This is utilised by Darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae) that employ different strategies for obtaining the fog water. The static head stance assumed by O. unguicularis while fog-basking in the chamber (Figures 4) was very similar to that documented for the same species while fog-basking at the crest of a sand dune during a fog event in the Namib Desert . These flat, circular, short-legged beetles construct a shallow trench 2-4 … A novel and affordable fabric may improve the efficiency of water collection from fog, helping to provide freshwater in desert areas.. The water capture corrected for beetle size showed significant differences in water capturing efficiency, with O. unguicularis and S. gracilipes being the better fog water harvesters. The relative dorsal surface area of each beetle was determined from the number of coloured pixels from the standardised photographs of the flattened casts, and normalised to the largest beetle. The elytra of O. unguicularis are almost completely smooth (Figures 2A1) except for the posterior half that has large distinct grooves, approximately 0.5 mm wide, divided by narrow ridges (Figures 2A2). This is utilised by Darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae) that employ different strategies for obtaining the fog water. Scale bar = 5 mm. In the present study, the beetles were stained within three hours of capture to avoid any artificially induced wear on the cuticle of the beetles from stress and/or the exposure to a substrate different from that of their natural environment. Manage cookies/Do not sell my data we use in the preference centre. In contrast, all O. unguicularis placed in a chamber filled with fog at temperatures similar to those under a natural fog event in the Namib Desert  assumed a fog-basking stance. Other organisms in the Namib Desert use fog as an important source of water, and small leaves have recently been shown to be an important factor for plants when harvesting water from fog . This behaviour is known as fog-basking. The beetle is able to trap water or fog by sticking the back part of its body facing the foggy wind. volume 7, Article number: 23 (2010) Stenocara gracilipes and P. cribripes, that have elytra with an array of bumps had, during the same time, collected 0.11 ± 0.01 ml and 0.14 ± 0.03 ml respectively. Fog harvesting efficiency. With no fog present, O. unguicularis did not display any fog-basking behaviour during the 20 minutes they were observed in the chamber. This made it possible to determine what the triggering factor is behind the characteristic head standing behaviour of the fog-basking beetles. The first aim of the present account is to identify and describe a possible fog-basking behaviour in four desert beetles (including Onymacris, Stenocara and Physasterna sp.) It is a matter of debate if either of these two species or genera fog-bask or not [5, 9, 10]. Some dig trenches in the sand, while others use their own bodies as fog collectors assuming a characteristic fog-basking stance. Size difference between the four model beetles. We typically think of harvesting plants, but the Fogstand Beetle, which inhabits the Namib Desert, one of the harshest environments on the planet, has a unique way of harvesting water. Whole beetles were carefully placed in 50% alcohol for three minutes, and then in a Sudan III solution for another three minutes. California Privacy Statement, Onymacris laeviceps (Figure 1B) has a similar surface structure, albeit with finer grooves, and inhabits the same sand dune habitat as O. unguicularis. Hamilton and co-authors identify the beetle as a P. cribripes (Figures 2D1 and 2D2), and a comparison between our model beetles and the illustration in the paper by Parker and Lawrence  supports this re-identification. Elytra structures. Tenebrionidae is a large and diverse beetle family. Irrespective of whether these beetles have evolved a fog-basking behaviour or not, elytra covered in bumps and valleys could still be a better collectors of fog water than the smooth surface with grooves described for the fog-basking beetles. The dorsal surface area of P. cribripes was found to be 1.39 times larger than O. unguicularis, 1.56 times larger than O. laeviceps, and 2.52 times larger than S. gracilipes. The ventral sides of the beetles were positioned in the angle previously determined from live beetles fog-basking in the fog chamber (see above). This indicates that O. unguicularis - in addition to their fog-basking behaviour - could have structural adaptations on their elytra to improve water harvesting from fog. Front Zool 7, 23 (2010). The mechanism by which fog water forms into large droplets on a beaded surface has been described from the study of the elytra of beetles from the genus Stenocara. 1983, 6: 135-143. The fog-basking O. unguicularis (N = 12) was again tested in the fog chamber at temperatures equivalent to what exists under natural fog events (11.9 ± 0.23°C, mean ± SE), but this time without any fog in the chamber (25.5 ± 0.34% RH, mean ± SE). 2 Identifying common locations for beetle populations within the house is fundamental to In fact, no significant difference in water harvesting per unit of dorsal surface area can be found between O. unguicularis (0.22 ± 0.04 ml, mean ± SE, N = 20) and O. laeviceps (0.18 ± 0.01 ml), or O. unguicularis and S. gracilipes (0.27 ± 0.02 ml), (Kruskal-Wallis test, p < 0.0001, Dunn's Multiple Comparisons Test, p > 0.05, in both cases). Its slick waxy surface made from a pitcher plant further aids in the runoff. However, P. cribripes and many other tenebrionid beetles will also assume a tilting posture as a common alarm response . A novel and affordable fabric may improve the efficiency of water collection from fog, helping to provide freshwater in desert areas. Martorell C, Ezcurra E: The narrow-leaf syndrome: a functional and evolutionary approach to the form of fog-harvesting rosette plants. Most of the info on the web is 7 years old and I have received no responses. It is made of stainless steel because of its cold property. The relative dorsal surface area of each beetle was determined and normalized to the largest beetle. Long term studies on the population density of Darkling beetles in the Namib Desert clearly shows that the fog collecting beetles are still present in great numbers during periods of low rain fall, whereas the large majority of Darkling beetles that lack this adaptation disappear or decline to less than 1% of their mean abundance . Front. "A third method involves uptake of free water directly from fog-moistened sand. For clarity, we will from here on treat the beetle from the study on water capture by a desert beetle by Parker and Lawrence  as a P. cribripes. This indicates that the temperature is a contributing, but not critical factor, for eliciting this behaviour. The other six beetles remained active and moved around for the 20 minutes they were observed, but never adopted a static head standing position. 1. 1984, New York: Wiley, 3. The surface is made up of hundred of grooves that grow wider at the bottom to permit easier runoff. We therefore conclude that water harvesting from fog in the Namib Desert beetle O. unguicularis is primarily a consequence of behavioural, rather than structural adaptations to the utilisation of an alternative source of water in an environment where rain is a rare event. Two beetle species from the genus
Onymacris have been observed to fog-bask on the ridges of the sand dunes. Relationships between biocoenotic variation trends in the darkling beetle assemblage and several environmental variables of sampling plots at different elevations were investigated at different spatial scales. A Great new way to get water in Coastal Desert. Incredibly, the team predicts that the bottle could collect between half a litre and three litres of water per hour, depending on the local environment. The four beetle species do, however, vary in size (Figure 1), and to assess the water harvesting efficiency of the different surface structures we also have to take the size of the beetles into account. Inspired by the Fogstand Beetle, Bionic Water Storage Unit is a conceptual design that would harvest and store water. Fog-basking has also been reported within the genus Stenocara, but any comparison to our results from the fog chamber, is complicated by the fact that the identification of the beetle has been questioned . TN and MD designed the experiments and interpreted the data. (mean ± SE). Nørgaard T(#)(1), Dacke M(#)(1). Hydrophobic dorsal surface of Physasterna cribripes. CiteSeerX - Document Details (Isaac Councill, Lee Giles, Pradeep Teregowda): Background: In the Namib Desert fog represents an alternative water source. This procedure gives wax covered, i.e. Nature. In accordance with earlier reports from the field, we find that O. unguicularis is the only one of our four model beetles that assumes a head standing fog-basking stance in a low temperature environment with artificially produced fog. However, a combination of fog and low temperatures is the strongest trigger for this behaviour. Google Scholar. The relative dorsal surface area of each beetle was determined and normalized to the largest beetle. Dead specimens of O. unguicularis, O. laeviceps, S. gracilipes or P. cribripes were placed in a fog-basking position. The lack of a fog-basking behaviour in these three species of beetles is in accordance with long term observations of Darkling beetles in the Namib Desert, , where only two out of approximately 200 beetle species inhabiting this area have ever been observed to fog-bask - both from the genus Onymacris. https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-9994-7-23, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-9994-7-23. 3 Chemical and physical methods work best for controlling darkling beetles. The grooves are approximately 0.5 mm wide and approximately 0.1 mm apart. A quick inspection of the two beetles that are well known to fog-bask - O. bicolor and O. unguicularis - reveals that the elytra of these beetle do not carry the numerous bumps that were described as part of the water collecting mechanism in Stenocara (or possibly Physasterna), but rather have smooth elytra surfaces with regular grooves. 1976, 193: 10.1126/science.193.4252.484. After two hours in the fog chamber, Onymacris unguicularis and O. laeviceps, that have smooth elytra with grooves had collected 0.16 ± 0.03 (mean ± SE) and 0.11 ± 0.01 ml of water respectively. An Eppendorf tube for water collection was placed under each beetle's head. The starting point of this behaviour was defined as the time at which O. unguicularis had oriented itself with the back towards the fog and thereafter remained in this static position with its head tilted downwards for a minimum of 2 min. An Eppendorf tube for water collection was placed under each beetle's head. Terms and Conditions, An example of a P. cribripes treated with Sudan III staining in order to examine if the beetles have hydrophilic zones that could facilitate the collection of water from fog. 2005, 101: 570-572. Researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology (EUT), in the Netherlands, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China, turned a cotton fabric into a water-collecting material by coating it with a polymer called PNIPAAm. Whereas the pronotum on all beetles is rather smooth, it is the elytra that have different structures. 1988, San Diego: Academic, Welty JR, Wicks CE, Wilson RE: Fundamentals of momentum, heat, and mass transfer. This posture resembles fog-basking and could have been mistaken for it in the study by Parker and Lawrence . To test for possible hydrophilic properties of the elytra, the beetles were treated with Sudan III. Jan 9, 2014 - Explore Peg Butler's board "Dew Collection" on Pinterest. Cite this article. The advantage of fog collection for water intake in the extremely arid desert is obvious, and becomes critical when rainfall is absent over prolonged periods of time. In accordance with earlier reports, we found that the second largest O. unguicularis is the only one of the four beetles that assumes the head standing fog-basking behaviour, and that fog is necessary to trigger this behaviour. CAS This invention has resulted in increased efficiency in industries that rely on condensation not to mention provision of water to areas that have it in short supply. Hamilton WJ, Henschel JR, Seely MK: Fog collection by Namib Desert beetles. The fog-basking O. unguicularis rather have smooth elytra that, in the back half, are folded into regular grooves that bend towards the apex of the body. Its hardened shell contains tiny grooves or bumps where water is condensed and channelled to the beetle’s mouth. Dew Bank Bottle 3 c). Article Feeding and diet. In the second part of this study, we compare the water collecting efficiency of these two types of structurally different dorsal surfaces. Occasional paper No 8, DRFN. This is a different staining method that also tests for the presence of waxes, but details on the conditions that the beetles were kept under prior to staining are unfortunately not given. The life of survival is strongly dependent on the water levels available. Its inventor claims that it can collect as much as a full glass water, so if each person had their own bottle this would definitely make a difference. Our results do, however, indicate that water harvesting in the fog-basking beetle O. unguicularis is not improved by a combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic points on its elytra. The Namib Desert has a remarkably high variety of Darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae) and a handful of them actively exploit fog for water intake [5, 6]. 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