General, Research, Technology

Even a machine cannot crush this beetle. What's his secret?

There are a huge number of animals in the world, ohwhich is not covered in school biology textbooks. There is nothing obscene in them, just a thousand books are not enough to tell about all living organisms on our planet. There is a beetle in the world that is able to withstand a load 39 thousand times its own weight. That is, if a heavy car runs over him, nothing bad will happen to him. The maximum that he will do is shake himself off and go on about his business. These are the beetles of the Nosoderma diabolicum species, which are also known as "armadillos". For a long time, scientists could not understand what feature of their body structure provides them with such strength. Recently, it was possible to find the answer to this question thanks to a microscope and a 3D printer. By copying the structural features of their bodies, it will be possible to create durable shoes and even cars.

It looks like the beetle Nosoderma diabolicum

The toughest beetles

About unusual beetles and their features wastold in the scientific publication Nature. Insects inhabit the arid regions of the west coast of the United States. They are painted black and are almost invisible on the bark of trees and even more so on the asphalt. They are harmless to people, but they themselves constantly risk getting into trouble. After all, they are invisible and every now and then can get under the feet of people or the wheels of cars. And if they find themselves on a light surface, they become very noticeable and birds attack them. But due to their strength, they cannot be crushed and eaten by birds. In fact, these are tough nuts from the wild. Due to their record toughness, they live up to 8 years.

Nosoderma diabolicum beetles are only a few millimeters in size.

Recently, scientists from Irvine, Californiadecided to find out what kind of body feature gives the beetles amazing strength. To find out, they armed themselves with a microscope and observed the change in the shape of their body when squeezed. Exactly how this became possible is not clear; they used computed tomography exactly. This technology allows you to literally look inside organisms and objects, so in the research it was very useful.

In the middle is the place of attachment of the elytra

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Insect body structure

Almost all flying insects have twoa pair of wings. The first pair is called the elytra and is much stiffer than the second pair, which is used during flight. So, in beetles of the Nosoderma diabolicum species, the elytra are composed of proteins that give them additional strength. These proteins are also present in other parts of insects, but there are 10% more of them in the elytra. In addition, the first pair of wings are held together along the centerline like a puzzle piece. If you press hard on the back of the insect, the two parts of the elytra begin to slowly separate, but they do not separate from each other. In this case, the load is evenly distributed over the body and the beetle remains intact. Researchers believe that the rest of the flying insects are not able to withstand even half of the load that "armadillos" sometimes experience.

To check if the construction is validelytra so strongly increases the strength of insects, scientists have recreated it on a 3D printer. It turned out that the unusual body structure of beetles really plays a major role in their ability to withstand heavy loads. It is hoped that the new knowledge will help scientists create structures that will be as durable as these beetles. For example, it may be possible to build sturdy cars or shoes that are not afraid of heavy loads.

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As you can see, the world really does exista huge number of living creatures, the existence of which we did not even suspect. You may also not be aware of the existence of the bulldog ants (Myrmecia pilosula). They are considered the most dangerous of their kind. Officially, their existence became known in 1858. Almost all of them are colored black, but there are also tiny gray hairs on the body. You can read more about these and several other dangerous ants on our planet in this article.