The ironclad beetle has a reputation to being able to withstand being run over by a car or stabbed. Thry are so strong that the steel pins used by entolmologists to mount them in display cases often bend in the process.
“Beyond feigning death, this beetle has a remarkable ability to withstand crushing and piercing strikes from predators, and even the occasional automobile,” the study stated.
The beetles, unlike its ancestors, has no ability to fly away when threatened by predators. Instead, they have developed a crush-resistant exoskeletal forewings called elytra, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.
Scientists found a jigsaw-like mechanism in the beetles’ exoskeletons, which experts believe could help improve the world of engineering and robotics.
Scientists from the United States and Japan used advanced imaging technique, and found a series of interlocked jigsaw-shaped joints in its elytra. It was shaped like blades that allow to withstand forces up to 149 newtons or 39,000 times its bodyweight.
“Cockroaches have a similar shape-changing ability, which has inspired the design if a comprehensible robot that can squeeze into, and now within, tight spaces. Such robots could be used to search for survivors in collapsed buildings after disasters,” Po-Yu Chen, from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Taiwan’s National Tsing Hue University, said in a commentary in Nature. “And the authors’ work demonstrate that you should never underestimate the capability of insects.”