Data from: Keeping cool: enhanced optical reflection and heat dissipation in silver ants
Shi, Norman Nan et al. (2016), Data from: Keeping cool: enhanced optical reflection and heat dissipation in silver ants, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2bm50
Saharan silver ants, Cataglyphis bombycina, forage under extreme temperature conditions in the African desert. We show that the ants’ conspicuous silvery appearance is created by a dense array of triangular hairs with two thermoregulatory effects. They enhance not only the reflectivity of the ant’s body surface in the visible and near-infrared range of the spectrum, where solar radiation culminates, but also the emissivity of the ant in the mid-infrared. The latter effect enables the animals to efficiently dissipate heat back to the surroundings via blackbody radiation under full daylight conditions. This biological solution for a thermoregulatory problem may lead to the development of biomimetic coatings for passive radiative cooling of objects.