Brazil’s Killer Cops
The secret civil war raging on the streets of Rio de Janeiro
Heat makes you lethargic? Quite the contrary! At least not when it comes to the Saharan silver ant: It keeps working even in temperatures of over 110°F and flits across the hot desert sand as cool as a cucumber. How does it do this without being fried to a crisp? The ants’ body hair functions as a cooling system. The silver hairs that are densely arranged on their exoskeleton enable reflection of light and the emission of heat. This means their bodies can remain below the critical thermal maximum temperature of 128.5°F. The cooling effect is made possible by the unique triangular cross section and color of the hairs. These findings should improve the cooling of technical devices.
12,000 species of ants exist around the world. Altogether, they make up 20% of the terrestrial animal biomass on Earth.