Blowflies use drool to keep their cool | Science News

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Blowflies use drool to keep their cool

Dangle, slurp, repeat may help the insects protect their brains from overheating

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6:04pm, January 5, 2018
Blowfly

UNUSUALLY COOL  If this blowfly starts overheating, it has a drool, reswallow, repeat  trick for reducing its temperature.

SAN FRANCISCO — Blowflies don’t sweat, but they have raised cooling by drooling to a high art.

In hot times, sturdy, big-eyed Chrysomya megacephala flies repeatedly release — and then retract — a droplet of saliva, Denis Andrade reported January 4 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. This process isn’t sweating. Blowfly droplets put the cooling power of evaporation to use in a different way, said Andrade, who studies ecology and evolution at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Rio Claro, Brazil.

As saliva hangs on a fly’s mouthparts, the droplet starts to lose some of its heat to the air around it. When the fly droplet has cooled a bit, the fly then slurps it back in, Andrade and colleagues found. Micro-CT scanning showed the retracted droplet in the fly’s throatlike passage near

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