Do insects get sunburnt? © Getty Images

Do insects get sunburnt?

Insects that live out in the open have evolved built-in defences against the sun, but others can really feel the burn.

Asked by: Sean Harkins, by email


Insects that live in the open have dark exoskeletons with melanin in them to block UV rays. But this is no use for insects that live in water or underground or are nocturnal. They have paler, thinner skins that are easily damaged by the Sun. They don’t just burn, they are rapidly paralysed and die!


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.