Navigation Links
Mystery behind the strongest creature in the world
Date:3/10/2008

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
joseph.winters@iop.org
44-020-747-04815
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion ... Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing ... applications are expected to drive the market growth. ... , The development of advanced multimodal ...
(Date:6/7/2016)...  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union ... integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into ... result in greater convenience for SACU members and ... existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Liquid Biotech USA , Inc. ... Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ("PENN") ... patients.  The funding will be used to assess ... outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety of ... to support the design of a therapeutic, decision-making ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority ... as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use ... height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute ... platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: