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Paraphrased from Wikipedia:

Infrared sensing in snakes depends on a kind of natural thermography, by which tiny packets of cellular water are raised in temperature by the infrared radiation.

What is "packets" refering to in this is example?

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Is biology.stackexchange.com a better home for this question? –  Qmechanic Apr 27 '13 at 8:04
    
@Qmechanic Do packets relate specifically to biology (no sracasm intended)? –  5ives Apr 27 '13 at 8:11
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is probably a question for Biology.SE however the tiny packets are just that, very small sacks of water. Think tiny drops. There is so little water that it doesn't take much energy to heat it up via infrared radiation and the cell can detect the temperature change.

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The example paraphrase may have biology references (i.e., snakes) but I don't think the actual question releates specifically to biology. –  5ives Apr 27 '13 at 6:45
    
@5ives my point was that all we know about these "packets" is that they're tiny sacks of water. If you want to know more about what they really are, how they work, etc., then you need to ask on Biology.SE. –  Brandon Enright Apr 27 '13 at 6:47
    
Fair enough, but I don't see how water packets relate specifically to biology. –  5ives Apr 27 '13 at 6:50
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