Blowfly uses saliva to keep cool

Blowfly uses saliva to keep cool

By Elton Alisson  |  Agência FAPESP – On warm days the Oriental latrine blowfly (Chrysomya megacephala) keeps cool by moving a droplet of saliva repeatedly in and out of its buccal apparatus, or mouth, and then swallowing it.

Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s São Carlos Physics Institute (IFSC-USP) in Brazil, in collaboration with colleagues at São Paulo State University’s Bioscience Institute in Rio Claro (IBRC-UNESP), have found that the saliva droplet cools through evaporation during this “tidal” movement. Ingestion of the droplet then cools important parts of the insect’s body such as its flight muscles and brain.

The discovery was made during Guilherme Gomes’s postdoctoral research at IFSC-USP, with a scholarship from FAPESP, and as part of a project conducted by researchers at IBRC-UNESP, also with FAPESP’s support, and has just been described in a paper published in Scientific Reports…