Fortunately for all of us, Earth is teeming with life of all kinds. From the totality of over 8.7 million species, some of them are defying all expectations. Furthermore, a precise estimate suggests that more than 80% of the planet’s species are still undiscovered.
Ironclad beetles (Phloeodes diabolicus) are among the creatures that leave astronomers speechless. You can even run over these little devils with a car, and they’ll survive without problems. Ironclad beetles measure about 0.6 to 1 inch in length and can be found in woodland habitats from western North America.
Why ironclad beetles are so strong
The strong little creatures are made up of a series of smoothly interlocking puzzle parts. The internal structure of the design can increase the strength of the beetle’s shield. Professor David Kisailus, a co-author of the study from the University of California, Irvine, declares:
We were impressed. Especially given that this beetle does not contain any mineral – just organic components,
The researchers performed compression tests on the ironclad beetles to see how much force those shields could endure. The creatures can resist continuous forces up to 149 newtons, or 15 kilograms. This means about 39,000 times the beetles’ body weight.
Zopherinae is a subfamily of beetles and are commonly known as ironclad beetles. Together with the subfamily Usechinae, they have been treated as a family, but have been joined by several additional taxa. This made the Zopheridae a much larger composite family.
Ironclad beetles have another interesting trait: they play dead when they’re disturbed. The beetles are apparently fungivores and associated with rotting wood, and they have one of the hardest of all arthropod exoskeletons. For some species, it is impossible to drive an insect pin through their bodies without making a hole first while using a small drill.