The Namibian Fog Basking Beetle

The Namibian Fog Basking Beetle lives in the Namibian Desert, where water is scarce. Seeing as water is necessary for the survival of any form of life, this poses a challenge to organisms. The Namibian Fog Basking Beetle has an extremely innovative method of obtaining moisture in its harsh environment.

The Namib Desert is the site of a remarkable natural phenomenon. The cold Benguela current causes a fog to roll into the desert, serving as a source of water. This fog occurs roughly 30 days every year and in a single day can deposit up to 1 litre of water per square meter (on the mesh of an artificial fog screen).

The Fog Basking Beetles exploit this rare occurrence by climbing to the top of sand dunes and face the wind with their backs in the air. They then turn their bodies into literal water collectors. Water droplets form on their elytra* and roll down into their mouths. In some varieties of Fog Basking Beetle, it is thought that their elytra are hydrophobic surfaces. This causes the water in the fog to bead up and slide down into their mouths.

This resource exploitation is extremely successful. Other similar beetles that do not exhibit such fog basking behaviour have serious decline in population during times of drought. However, the fog-basking beetle is still present in large numbers at such periods of scarcity.

*Elytra: The forewings of the beetle

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