Within the world of insects there are simple life forms and very complicated and amazing species. Some of these are beyond understanding and are almost unbelievable.

One such insect is the Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle. This type of beetle is not found in Indiana, but it sure does deserve mention. In fact, the Iron Clad beetle is considered the toughest insects in the world. Why? This species of beetle has its own body armor. It can withstand pressure like no other. The Iron clad Beetle can withstand 39,000 times its weight in pressure. To put it in simple terms, a car can run over the beetle and not crush it. According to research at Purdue University and University of California Irvine, that pressure would be equivalent to a 200-pound man having the pressure of 7.8 million pounds of pressure put on him without crushing him or causing injury. Research in the areas of construction and aeronautics is being done to see what we can learn to make construction materials stronger on earth and in space. What do you think of this species now?

The Diabolical Iron Clad Beetle is found in Mexico and California and lives under bark on trees and under rocks. It has the ability to play dead to protect itself from being bothered by other animals or insects, although there aren’t any that can penetrate its shell. Even birds cannot peck a hole in its shell. Entomologists must use a drill to make a hole to even pin the insect for display. The lifespan of this amazing survivor is a whopping 8 years.

The key to its strength is the ability its small fibers to hold the body plates together by allowing a stretching action. These small fibers allow the strong body shell to be nearly indestructible. Another amazing feature of this beetle is that it has the ability to “self-heal.” Research in this area is also being conducted.

All this sounds like a paradox to me! Usually, we think of something strong being big or muscular. Researchers may redefine what strength is. Some of the smallest and most fragile things may hold us together to make us strong.