Navigation Links
Mystery behind the strongest creature in the world

The strongest creature in the world, the Hercules Beetle, has a colour-changing trick that scientists have long sought to understand. Research published today, Tuesday, 11 March, in the New Journal of Physics, details an investigation into the structure of the species peculiar protective shell which could aid design of intelligent materials.

The Hercules Beetle is remarkable, not only for its strength, able to carry up to 850 times its own weight, the protective outgrowth of the insects exoskeleton, aka its shell, also changes from green to black as its surrounding atmosphere gets more humid.

Researchers from the University of Namur in Belgium have used the latest imaging techniques to study the shell of the beetle - a scanning electronic microscope to determine the structure responsible for the colour and a spectrophotometer to analyze how the light interacts with this structure.

The light interferes with the structure to produce the green colour of the shell. When water penetrates through the widely-open porous layers, it destroys the interferences phenomenon leading to a black colouration.

The researchers used dry specimen of the beetles shell to test in laboratory conditions.

The beetle, usually found in the rainforests of Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil, is still rather mysterious though. As although dry specimen of the shell could be relied on to change when humid conditions were introduced, the living specie that researchers also had in the lab were not as consistent.

As to why the beetle changes colour, question marks also remain. Some have suggested that it is to do with protection it becomes more humid at night and is therefore good for cover to turn black. Others have suggested that it is to do with warmth absorption at night. Questions remain.

The techniques used to study the beetles morphology included new scanning techniques for electron images which over recent years have been refined to yield great depth and therefore help to create three-dimensional images of miniscule structures.

Marie Rassart, who did the research at the University of Namur, said, The sort of structural behaviour displayed by the Hercules Beetle could be an important property for intelligent materials. Such materials could be put to work as humidity sensors. This could be useful for example in food processing plants to monitor the moisture level.


Contact: Joe Winters
Institute of Physics

Related biology news :

1. Bright lights: Mystery of glowing antibody solved by Scripps research scientists
2. Has the mystery of the Antarctic ice sheet been solved?
3. UCLA researchers solve decade-old mystery
4. Ancient mystery solved
5. ASU professor helps solve mystery of glassy water
6. 480-million-year-old fossil sheds light on 150-year-old paleontological mystery
7. Time-sharing tropical birds key to evolutionary mystery
8. Cassini on the trail of a runaway mystery
9. Magnetic snakes control fluids, gravity-defying droplets, and solving a dragonfly mystery
10. Men shed light on the mystery of human longevity, study finds
11. Folate mystery finally solved
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... , Nov. 19, 2015  Although some 350 companies ... dominated by a few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These ... 51% of the market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar ... The World Market for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... market is still controlled by one company and only ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... Paris , qui s,est tenu ... Paris , qui s,est tenu du 17 au ... l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le premier scanner couplé, qui ... même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, deux scanners étaient nécessaires, ... digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner est en mesure de ...
(Date:11/12/2015)...  A golden retriever that stayed healthy despite having ... provided a new lead for treating this muscle-wasting disorder, ... of MIT and Harvard and the University of São ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene that boosts ... The Boston Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) ... New York on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 ... president and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. th ... at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . Jim ... provide a corporate overview. --> th Annual Oppenheimer ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper is an ... is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 ... Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) ... of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that as of ... corporate developments that would cause the recent movements in ... --> About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... new market research report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product ... (PCR, Gene Synthesis, Diagnostic, DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to reach ... in 2015, at a CAGR of 10.1% during the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: