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Water capture by a desert beetle

This insect has a tailor-made covering for collecting water from early-morning fog.


Some beetles in the Namib Desert collect drinking water from fog-laden wind on their backs1. 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.

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Figure 1: The water-capturing surface of the fused overwings (elytra) of the desert beetle Stenocara sp.


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Correspondence to Andrew R. Parker.

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Parker, A., Lawrence, C. Water capture by a desert beetle. Nature 414, 33–34 (2001).

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