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Pyrophilous Jewel Beetles as Fire Detectors

Bonn/Jülich, 22 May 2012 – Jewel beetles of the genus Melanophilia have unusual infrared (IR) sensors. They apparently use these sensors to detect forest fires from great distances since their wood-eating larvae can only develop in freshly burnt trees. Exactly how sensitive this biological IR sensor is has long been a matter of debate in the science community. Researchers from the University of Bonn and Forschungszentrum Jülich have now come to the conclusion that the beetle's sensor is probably more sensitive than uncooled man-made IR sensors.

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