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Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Dung Beetle Is the Strongest of Them All

Who's the strongest pound for pound? That bug upon the ground!

Scientists have worked out which creature is the strongest. It is a dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus. This tiny bug can pull 1,141 times its own body weight. For a human to equal this he/she would have to lift 80 tonnes, equivalent to six trucks.

The dung beetle has to be extremely fit and healthy to accomplish this feat. Putting them on poor diets before a test reduced the amount they could pull. Apparently, they have to be strong because of their lifestyle. A male digs a deep hole under a dung pat where he mates with a female. If another male enters the tunnel the two males will fight a furious battle by locking horns until one is pushed out. The more weight a male can pull the more likely he is to win the fight and be able to mate, thus passing on his genes for high strength.

Some male beetle don't seem to compete with the large aggressive males. They are born smaller and weaker. When they were fed more they still did not take up the fight, but their testicles became larger. This enables them to mate more often taking advantage of larger males who let their guard down.
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Entomology
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