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This beetle is too tough to be crushed2 min read

October 25, 2020 2 min read


This beetle is too tough to be crushed2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sometimes, we accidentally end up squishing bugs after stepping on them, but here’s a bug you can stomp on, run over or drop and it will not even flinch! Meet the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle, which looks just as tough as its name sounds!

This beetle, native to North America, is said to have one of the strongest exoskeletons in the entire animal kingdom. In fact, it can withstand a force of up to 39,000 times its body weight. This terrestrial beetle is neither very quick or very lightweight, so the tough exterior helps when trying to fight off predators.

Scientists have now figured out why this beetle is as tough as it is and the answer is evolution!

They found that the shell of this bug, which has adapted to living in harsh conditions in the desert, has evolved in a special way to protect it. Most bugs fly using their hind wings, but since the Ironclad Beetle lives on land unlike its ancestors, its elytra – the blades that open and close on the wings of beetles that fly – have fused together to form a strong shield.

The shell of the diabolical ironclad beetle under a microscope. Photo: Sciencefocus.com

A closer look into the elytra revealed a jigsaw puzzle-like structure made up of layers of chitin – a fibrous material – and a protein. The amount of protein in the shell is ten times more than that found is a flying beetle. Hence, the ironclad’s shell doesn’t break as easily.

This interesting discovery can help in building stronger aircrafts, ships and cars, believe scientists!

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