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Solar-powered wasps

The Shaman

First Post
"The pigment melanin gives the [Oriental] hornet [(Vespa orientalis)] its dominant brown colour. The pigment xanthopterin, in the head and abdomen in a form of stripes and bands, gives the Oriental hornet its bright yellow colour," explains Dr Plotkin.

"Xanthopterin works as a light harvesting molecule transforming light into electrical energy."

. . .

"We assume that some of the energy is transformed in a photo-biochemical process which aids the hornets with their energy demanding digging activity," Dr Plotkin told the BBC. (source)
I've long used solar-powered aliens in Traveller, but as it turns out, we don't need to travel to other stars to find critters fueled by the sun.

Nature is so bloody cool.
 
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Cyronax

Explorer
I've long used solar-powered aliens in Traveller, but as it turns out, we don't need to travel to other stars to find critters fueled by the sun.

Nature is so bloody cool.

In other news: Scientists Discover 'Kryptonite' in Serbian Mine - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News - FOXNews.com

3_63_kryptonite1.jpg
 



CharlesRyan

Adventurer
I've run into those here in the US. The ones I've encountered lived in holes in the ground and were either solitary or the nests were small (or perhaps just not busy). The sting does suck, but not that much more than a normal wasp.

They are big--bigger than the video makes them seem. About the length of your little finger.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
BBC News said:
"We assume that some of the energy is transformed in a photo-biochemical process which aids the hornets with their energy demanding digging activity," Dr Plotkin told the BBC.

Color me skpetical.

1) If they are digging underground, they aren't getting a whole lot of sunlight. Unless they keep stepping out for sunlight snacks, I'm not sure how it'd help.

2) More importantly - assumption is not proof. The fact they contain a substance that can do this doesn't mean they are using that property.
 

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