'Unsquishable' Beetle - the 'Ironclad beetle' or Diabolical beetle.

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jim mcnamara
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Summary:

Unusual elytra microstructure creates enormous resistance to pressure.
https://www.livescience.com/unbreakable-beetle.html

Want to read the paper?
Note: use this link above, scroll down, to get a referring link to Nature. I cannot make it work here, you have to go there to see the paper

These bark beetles, Phloeodes diabolicus (Nosoderma diabilocus), can literally survive being run over by an automobile tire. It is a survival mechanism to avoid predation by birds like woodpeckers. There may be some practical applications of the unique internal structure of the elytra - the very, very hard forewings that changed function from flying to armor.
See: pictures and other information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosoderma_diabolicum (Note different genus name, same bug. Biology has a taxonomic issue called 'nomen confusum' -- which you can get the gist of without knowing Latin.)
 
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Answers and Replies

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It's curious you mention the taxonomy confusion. I think that's true in a lot of subjects and even in everyday life where we struggle to organize our papers and photos. I've given up on any kind of organization beyond a timestream. As more often than not we think in terms of when something occurred in order to find it to the year and month.

In computing, Unix provided a tentative solution in the form of folders and links which allows the same file to be in more than one place at once allowing different taxonomy trees with the file in both.

In the case of the beetle, it's likely that it was placed in one genus and then moved as more details emerged about its attributes and features.

Here's the detailed discussion on the name change:

https://www.researchgate.net/public...new_species_of_Nosoderma_from_northern_Mexico

and here's some BAE news on their use of the beetle armor:

https://www.engineering.com/Designe...-Titanium-Suspension-Inspired-by-Insects.aspx
 
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  • #3
BillTre
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In general, the taxonomic terms used to label different species has been in flux for several reasons:
  1. personal competition between those naming things
  2. philosophical differences between lumpers (who like fewer categories containing large collections of species) vs. splitters (more categories containing fewer species).
  3. new and conflicting methods and rules for naming species (such as descent vs. similarity based groups of species)
  4. immense amounts of new genomic data and greatly increased abilities (computers) to analyze them
In biological taxonomy, although "there can only be one" is the general idea for unique designators (species names).
However, in some cases the single accepted name for a species can change rapidly and remain in dispute for extended periods.
The literature therefore is a scattered history of not easy to follow name changes.
Sometimes this makes knowing what species is being discussed, or what it should be called, difficult.
 
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