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Firechaser Beetles Infrared Senses micro-lesson

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Learning time​

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Welcome to lesson on Animal Superpowers: Extraordinary Senses. This lesson is about the fire chaser beetle and how it can detect infrared radiation. Fire chaser beetles can detect fires from hundreds of miles away and chase fire like their name says. But why? Trees that have been burnt have lost their natural defenses that protect them from intruding insects so that these fire chaser beetles search for these trees and when they find them, they can safely lay their eggs inside. Fire chaser beetles have 70 to 90 tiny dome-like sacks on their underside. When they are flying, sometimes they look like they wave their arms in the air. This is to allow these little infrared detecting insects to detect infrared radiation. Inside each sack is a hair-like sensor called a dendric tip that gets deformed when it senses heat or infrared radiation. Infrared radiation is a wave on the invisible light spectrum. Invisible to us but fire chaser beetles can detect it, and these 70 to 90 sacks on the fire chaser beetle can pick up these waves traveling long distances. Humans cannot see infrared light, but we can detect it with instruments. Fire chaser beetles can detect it with their sensors from very, very long distances. Here, you can see that the infrared wavelength is fatter than the other waves on the visible light spectrum. Fire chaser beetles can detect these waves and seek out burnt trees.

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Answer time

Kids earn more screen time by answering fun educational questions.

Here are some example of questions about this video that kids may be asked in the 1Question app to earn screen time.

  • Fire chaser beetles look for fire to do what?

    1) Lay their eggs
    2) To extinguish the fire
    3) To start the fire
    4) To escape the fire
  • Fire chaser beetles have how 70-90 sacs on their underside to detect what?

    1) Infrared Radiation
    2) Food
    3) Water
    4) Mates
  • What happens to the dendric tip when it senses infrared radiation?

    1) It deforms
    2) It becomes hot
    3) It releases chemicals
    4) It becomes straight
  • Looking at the light spectrum picture, are infrared waves fatter or thinner than waves produced by the color red?

    1) Fatter
    2) Thinner
  • Can fire chaser beetles see infrared radiation?

    1) No
    2) Yes
  • Infrared radiation is on the visible light spectrum (visible to humans)?

    1) No
    2) Yes

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Meet your educator

Our micro-courses are developed and delivered by qualified educators from around the world.

Sarah Sanchez Medrano

Sarah Sanchez Medrano

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