Navigation Links
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Nature uses screws and nuts

This release is available in German.

A musculoskeletal system so far unknown in the animal world was recently discovered in weevils. The hip of Trigonopterus oblongus does not consist of the usual hinges, but of joints based on a screw-and-nut system. This first biological screw thread is about half a millimeter in size and was studied in detail using synchrotron radiation. The discovery is reported by the current issue of the Science magazine. (DOI:10.1126/science.1204245)

"Such a construction for animal leg movement is quite unusual, as large areas of skeletal parts move on top of each other. Supply of the leg takes place via a very small opening in the center of the screw," Thomas van de Kamp from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology says. In nature, hips and shoulders usually are based on ball-and-socket systems or hinges that can be operated more easily by organisms. Screws and nuts are known from engineering and used for the fixed connection of components. "Now, we found that nature was first in inventing screws and nuts, because weevils have been using this construction for about 100 million years already," Alexander Riedel from the Karlsruhe State Museum of Natural History says. This museum supplied the weevil samples studied. The detailed three-dimensional images of the joints were made at the national ANKA synchrotron radiation source of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

As a rule, weevils are clumsier than many other beetles, e.g. cara-bidae. Transformation of a hinge joint into a screw joint, however, allowed them to move their legs further down, which made them better climbers. The Trigonopterus oblongus weevil analyzed here lives on twigs and foliage in the jungle of Papua New Guinea. For feeding, the thorn is pushed into the plant tissue, while the hind legs provide strong foothold. Presumably, the screw joint also is advan-tageous in this respect.

"Meanwhile, we have also studied other weevil species and always found screw joints," explain Riedel and van de Kamp. "Obviously, this joint exists in all weevils, of which more than 50,000 species exist worldwide." In this case, the researchers would have identified the screw joint to be a so far unknown basic feature of the weevil family. The best known species in Germany are curculio nucum and curculio glandium as well as the corn weevil, a grain pest.

The three-dimensional image reconstructions of the joint of Trigonopterus oblongus of half a millimeter in size were made by means of the newly installed microtomograph of the ANKA synchrotron radiation source. "It extends the existing ensemble of synchrotron imaging techniques for wide application in life sciences," says Tilo Baumbach, Head of the ANKA synchrotron radiation source. "External users can now apply modern systems, from long-wave terahertz radiation to the highly brilliant X-radiation used in this case."


Contact: Monika Landgraf
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Related biology news :

1. Karlsruhe invisibility cloak: Disappearing visibly
2. BASF and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology develop tomorrows battery materials
3. Virtual Institute investigates virus infections
4. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and George Mason University expand partnership
5. Trudeau Institute announces new discovery in battle against plague and bacterial pneumonias
6. Scripps Research Institute Scientist Knighted by Italian Republic
7. Significant litter of cheetah cubs born at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
8. Research Institute of the MUHC awarded $1.4M grant
9. Clemson University institute to study vertical farming feasibility in Charleston, S.C.
10. HHMI helps summer institute expand to regional sites
11. Weizmann Institute scientists discover: A protein that contributes to obesity
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Nature uses screws and nuts
(Date:9/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Publiceringsförbud ... Kerv ( ), ... idag världens första kontaktlösa betalningsring på ... 000 GBP för massproduktion via crowdfunding.  ... , Kerv-bärare kan göra direkta ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... 10, 2015 Report Details ... Selling Opportunities and Revenue Prospects to Help You ... biologics, especially new drug classes? Get the latest ... with exclusive market data and industry knowledge, benefitting ... results, opportunities and sales predictions. Visiongain,s new ...
(Date:9/10/2015)... Sept. 10, 2015 Pursuant Health has ... to create an interactive, image-based health risk assessment ... wellness kiosk.  The unique assessment quantifies user results ... that suggests an individual,s biological age based on ... measured by the kiosk. Comprised of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... , ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... that Dr. Srini Srinivasan, has joined the firm as a Premier Expert consultant. ... stature enable them to bring extraordinary value to the company's clients. Premier ...
(Date:10/11/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Intelligent Implant Systems, LLC is pleased to ... have been completed with this new posterior thoracolumbar spinal fusion system. The surgeries ... the Carolinas. The Revolution™ Spinal System pioneers a new approach to lumbar ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... ANNAPOLIS, Md. , Oct. 9, 2015 ... entered into the Congressional Record her statement recognizing the ... celebrated October 11-17. IPAW is sponsored by the ... companies, and is designed to:   , Raise ... contributions of plasma donors in saving and improving lives ...
(Date:10/9/2015)...  DePuy Synthes Trauma* announced today the U.S. launch ... Technology**, the only pre-hydrated demineralized cancellous bone tissue matrix ... ankle, hand and wrist), including fusion, and for filling ... 2015 Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) Annual Meeting. ... bone growth) and osteoinductive 2,3 (stimulates new bone ...
Breaking Biology Technology: