Beetles feel the heat to find home


A TYPE of beetle renowned for colonising the smouldering remains of forest fires has yielded the secret of how it seeks out its improbable home. Researchers led by Helmut Schmitz at the University of Bonn in Germany already knew that the fire beetles Melanophila acuminata have a pair of ear-like organs in their outer skeleton that detect infrared radiation. “The adult beetles are attracted by forest fires from distances of many miles,” says Schmitz. Now they describe in The Journal of Experimental Biology (DOI:
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