This Uncrushable Beetle Withstands 39,000 Times of Its Weight

Now that's what we call a tough guy.
Deniz Yildiran
Phloeodes diabolicus, stronger than your average insectUniversity Of California, Irvine

It seems that there are more to nature than we thought; and frankly, a little stone may upset a large cart.

That is what surprised a team from the University of California, Irvine, recently. 

A little beetle called diabolical ironclad beetle (Phloeodes diabolicus) is strong enough to bear a car wheel blow, in other words, ready to get run over by a car. It is not just a suppositional expression, it had actually proved so after being tested. 

This little one can withstand forces approximately 39,000 times more than its own weight, and it is quite a number to not get interested in to figure out why.

"That’s about four times more than the strongest humans exert when squeezing the beetle between the thumb and forefinger," ScienceMag compares.

Having been able to fly before, the teeny-tiny but strong beetle has turned into a crush-resistant little mechanism, with the forewings protecting it from giant birds' hunger, compared to its size. 

The team, led by David Kisailus, used microscopy, spectroscopy, and mechanical testing to identify what is hidden beneath this unique exoskeleton. And researchers' plan was to find out if the exoskeleton had the potential to be mixed with different materials, such as plastics and metal. They produced joints out of metal and composites based on the ones they observed in the beetle. 

And it actually worked. "They say their designs enhanced the strength and toughness of the materials." per CNN

The team is now planning to use a similar design that of the beetle and build strong fasteners for transportation vehicles. Cars, bicycles, and even airplanes are currently among the candidates.  

And the source of these beetles? They are found in the U.S. and Mexico, where they appear to live under tree barks and beneath rocks. 

The research has been published in the journal Nature.