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Nature & Environment

Cockroaches possess a 'turbocharged' bite

By T.K. Randall
November 16, 2015 · Comment icon 8 comments

You don't want to get bitten by one of these. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Thomas Quine
The humble cockroach is able to bite something with a force 50 times greater than its own body weight.
If the mere sight of one of these six-legged critters scuttling across your kitchen floor is enough to give you nightmares then be thankful that you aren't at the receiving end of its super-strong bite.

According to researchers at Cambridge University, the common American cockroach is capable of 'turbocharging' its mandibles when attempting to chew through tough materials.
"Ours is the first study to measure the bite forces of ordinary insects, and we found that the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, can generate a bite force around 50 times stronger than their own body weight," said study leader Dr Tom Weihmann.

Relatively speaking, this means that they can bite with a force five times that of a human being.

"As insects play a dominant role in many ecosystems, understanding the amount of force that these insects can exert through their mandibles is a pivotal step in better understanding behavioural and ecological processes and enabling bio-inspired engineering," said Dr Weihmann.

Source: Scotsman | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Eldorado 9 years ago
It must be cockroaches who taste-test Toblerone bars.
Comment icon #2 Posted by quasar_kid 9 years ago
Haha, Eldorado.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin 9 years ago
Cockroach nipped me when i was defrosting the freezer last year
Comment icon #4 Posted by freetoroam 9 years ago
"better understanding behavioural and ecological processes and enabling bio-inspired engineering," I am just trying to figure out how the bite force of a cockroach is going to help in developing new engineering solutions for medicine, industry and the environment. Maybe the researchers need more funding so they can find a way of explaining this amazing and potentially life saving find?!!!
Comment icon #5 Posted by Athena1979 9 years ago
They need to know this for "bioengineering"?
Comment icon #6 Posted by AstralPhae 9 years ago
No no no no no no and no.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Goodnite 9 years ago
The best cockroach is a dead cockroach.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
Here is something more than a match for the cockroach, the Emerald Cockroach Wasp from Malaysia. Turns the roach into a zombie (yes really), walks it along as if on a leach, then lays an egg on it and the larva eats it from the inside until only a shell remains. Pretty gruesome, I saw one on Maui (where they have been introduced) leading a large roach to it's doom.

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