Condensation – the Namib beetle way.

Namib beetleThe Namib beetle (Stenocara) lives in the Namib Desert, a dry desert on the west coast of Africa. The Namib is famous for its sand dunes which change colour, depending on the position of the sun and the humidity content. The extreme dryness of the Namib is caused by its position near the coast and exposure to cold ocean currents. In spite of the hostile environment, there are plants and animals which survive in the desert which have adapted in a very special way to the extreme conditions, for example the Namib beetle.

The beetle, which is about two centimetres long, is black in colour and has unusually long legs. This keeps its rump a greater distance away from the hot sand. The outer wings have small bumps and a channel in the centre. The beetle harvests the water necessary for survival from the fog that crosses the desert. To do this, the beetle climbs to the top of a dune, lowers its head and stretches its posterior up into the wind, much like a headstand. For this reason it is also known as the «headstand beetle». Small droplets collect on the bumps and the water runs via the channels on its back directly into its mouth. In this way it can quench its thirst in the desert where there is hardly ever any rain (only once in ten years at its driest part).