Wildlife sometimes unfolds in highly unfriendly environments and this is exactly the case of the Saharan silver ants that are designed to survive at temperatures higher than 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
How do they do it? Well, the question just got its answers from a team of researchers that analyzed life conditions in ants, along with their survival capacities. In order to keep away from the killing sun, silver ants use reflective hair to block desert light. The animals own an unique coat of hair covering their body, cooling it and making it suitable to roam for food in the hot and endless summer days.
The silver ants of the Sahara are organized in communities that live underground, but for 10 or 20 minutes a day they need to leave their nests and face the harsh weather conditions in order to feed themselves.
The ant can survive extremely hot temperatures due to a very special hair coating that covers its body and keeps the sun reflections away from literally burning its body. The entire research and analysis on Sahara silver ants can be written in the journal Science.
These special hair threads are laid out in triangular cross sections and have the property to reflect under visible and infrared light. The hairs dissipate through thermal radiation, which makes ants able to roam and wander freely in the desert, in search for food.
No wonder these little wild animals choose the hottest time of the day to search for food, as that is the right moment to find precious food. Not all wild animals are provided with a very exclusive coating that enables their survival, so the Sahara silver ants find large quantities of dead insects exactly when the sun burns the hardest. If they choose a chillier moment to leave their nests, the food may get blown away by wind or be buried deep in the sand. Also, roaming in extreme heat keeps them away from deadly predators such as lizards.
Wildlife always shares precious insights on the design for life. Just as hair coating protects the animals from extreme heat conditions, an artificial coating can be created to protect rooftops or cars. The special heat reflection properties can be translated into human life-scale items that can improve our lives. Special coating can protect exposed materials from the degrading heat of the sunlight and thus make those materials become more resistant.
Image Source: csmonitor.com