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Barrett Attarha - Spring 2012

For their size, beetles are by far the strongest creatures in the animal kingdom, with some species capable of pulling over a thousand times their own weight. For Barrett's project he and Dr. Davis constructed an apparatus for measuring the strength of a locally-common beetle species (horned passalus beetle) using a dynamometer (which the beetle was tied to) and a data logger connected to a computer in an effort to ascertain the pulling strength of this species, but also to determine if factors such as body size, horn size or gender affect strength. After much trial and error, the protocol was perfected and viable data was obtained for 20+ beetles. Results showed that this beetle species is capable of pulling at least 100 times its own weight! Also, females pulled significantly more weight than did males. The collective results have recently been submitted for publication in an insect journal, and the protocol established should prove useful in future investigations.