Saharan Ants Use Metal Hair To Battle Extreme Weather

Evolution has a process of making sure living creatures survive and it has done so for the silver ants of the Sahara as well.

The heat of the Sahara Desert is unbearable and few animals can survive under the blistering sun but the Saharan silver ants have the most amazing triangular shaped hair which reflects light and evaporates heat and this allows them to survive in temperatures up to 70°C.

The ant has triangular shaped hair separated from the skin by a gap of air. The hair on the ant gives it it’s unique silvery appearance.


Professor Yu, with colleagues from University of Washington and University of Zurich, has studied the ant’s physical appearance and then compared it to the droplet of mercury. And he pointed out that even with the amazing light reflecting abilities; the ant can only survive on the desert surface for 10 minutes.

Nevertheless Professor Yu is excited about researching the ant’s ability for human use. He stated that such biologically inspired coolers will have high reflectivity in the solar spectrum and high radiative efficiency in the thermal radiation spectrum.

He hopes that one day useful applications from the ant are derived such as cooling surface for vehicles, buildings, instruments and even maybe clothing.


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