Dec 9, 2010

Solar Powered Hornet


Our topic today is the Oriental hornet, Vespa Orentalis. For some time, scientists had know that the workers of this species were most active towards the middle of the day. It was only recently that they confirmed that they are capable of directly harvesting solar power. Under very close examination (on the nanometer scale), the brown segments of the hornet's abdomen are a series of reflective mirrors. They reflect the sun's energy onto structures on the yellow part of the abdomen, which contains a pigment with photoelectric properties, thus turning the light into electrical energy, which the hornets then use for their activities.

Story and picture courtesy of the BBC. Plenty more details, including microscope scans of the hornet's skin.

8 comments:

Jenn said...

I'm lovin' the added science bits. Fascinating!

Marmaduke said...

Does solar power make it a green hornet?

Anonymous said...

Quote: "Does solar power make it a green hornet?"

Badump-bump-tsssshhhhh!!!

BTW, the hornet is highly offended; it prefers 'Asian hornet'.

Adorably Dead said...

I hate hornets. But this is cool.

jenjen said...

Nature is just too cool! Love it!

forestwalk/laura k said...

cool info!!
while vacationing...camping in GA...i saw the HUGEST hornets i'd ever seen! they were pretty aggressive...

i like to learn about them...see the pic's...but keep my distance!

((BTW-no more free spider posters are available...??))

plastic soap containers said...

haha
looks like unreal

chinkchick said...

That just shows how much human technology has to catch up to nature.