Navigation to forest fires by smoke and infrared reception: The specialized sensory systems of "fire-loving" beetles

Helmut Schmitz, Anke Schmitz, Eva Kreiss, Michael Gebhardt, Wulfila Gronenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

"Fire-loving" (pyrophilous) beetles depend on forest fires for their reproduction. Such insects approach ongoing fires and invade the burnt area immediately. Two genera of pyrophilous jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and one species of the genus Acanthocnemus (Acanthocnemidae) show a highly pyrophilous behaviour. For the long-range navigation towards a fire as well as for the short-range orientation on a freshly burnt area these beetles have special sensors for smoke and infrared (IR) radiation. Whereas the olfactory receptors for smoke are located on the antennae, the IR receptors are housed in extraantennal sensory organs which can be found on the thorax or on the abdomen. In the best-studied beetle, Melanophila acuminata, infrared receptors and their associated sensory neurons are derived from mechanoreceptors. Unlike other mechanosensory neurons, IR sensitive neurons directly send their information to be processed centrally (e.g. by the brain) rather than locally in their respective ganglia of origin. It is suggested that smoke - derived odours and IR information converge on descending brain neurons which, in turn, control and direct flight toward the forest fire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication63rd Annual Meeting of the Institute of Navigation 2007
Pages121-129
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Aug 23 2007
Event63rd Annual Meeting of the Institute of Navigation 2007 - Cambridge, MA, United States
Duration: Apr 23 2007Apr 25 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting - Institute of Navigation

Other

Other63rd Annual Meeting of the Institute of Navigation 2007
CountryUnited States
CityCambridge, MA
Period4/23/074/25/07

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Aerospace Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Navigation to forest fires by smoke and infrared reception: The specialized sensory systems of "fire-loving" beetles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this