Solar power is a hot topic for those who want to be eco-friendly. Or, for those who just want to find ways to save on energy bills. But, it looks like insects in the animal kingdom know how to take advantage of the sun in a more direct way, too. It’s been recently discovered that the Oriental Hornet, which features an iconic yellow strip around the hornet’s abdomen, is actually solar powered.
Like many other hornet, or even insect species, the Oriental Hornet is prone to being more active during the day. Other hornets actually flourish during the morning, but then tend to get more reserved as the day progresses. In the case of the Oriental Hornet, though, it actually gets more active as the day moves on. More accurately, as the sun makes its way through the sky, the hornet’s activity level rises in accordance.
Why? Because that yellow stripe holds tiny protrusions that collect sunlight, and translate it into energy. The Oriental Hornet also has a specialized pigment, called xanthopterin, that aides in the processes of making solar energy into energy the hornet can utilize in its every day happenings. Xanthopterin works as a light absorbing, or light harvesting molecule, which makes it easier to transfer into electrical energy that the hornet can use.