A special branch of science called biomimetics is emerging that trains the next generation of scientists to tap this living laboratory for cutting edge, technological solutions.
The jewel beetle seeks out forest fires, mating and feasting on dead pine trees.
These ingenious insects can sense roaring infernos from many kilometres away using supersensitive infra-red detectors.
Mark Stephen discovers how scientists are putting this knowledge to use to develop the next generation of infra-red detectors.
Scientists and bio-engineers are revealing new secrets of insect flight and using these to design and build micro air vehicles.
These tiny free-flying robots are attracting major military interest as well as stimulating the toy market.
Mark Stephen reveals an exciting range of biomimetic works that draws inspiration from flying creatures to provide the next generation of engineering solutions.