Insect Strength Versus Size
In Strange Metamorphosis Marcel Dassaud not only changes in appearance, but in doing so also gains considerable strength compared to his body weight.
Likewise, the rhinoceros beetle is a colossus in insect terms and is ranked as one of the mightiest animals on earth compared to its mass. You have probably heard that it can carry up to 850 times its own weight without even buckling at the knee segments, incredible!
That said, it’s worth mentioning that if an elephant were shrunk to the size of a bug its strength in relation to its weight would increase x-fold, and yet it would quite possibly be able to fly with its ears.
This is down to a phenomenon known as the scaling law originally recognized by Galileo.
The Scaling Law
Galileo identified that if the diameter of a sphere is increased twofold, the surface area is multiplied by four and the volume by eight. This signifies that elements of a body are not scaled up by the same amount.
To put it plainly, if an insect grew to the size of an elephant without radically changing the original shape of its body, it would be so heavy in proportion to its legs that it wouldn’t be able to shift its own carcass, let alone lift 850 times its own weight.
Not to mention other anatomical constraints like its respiratory system, which would become insufficient. It would require lungs instead of just absorbing air through its spiracles to be able to meet its increased need for oxygen.
So rest reassured, even if someone invented a magic hormone pill to grow insects to the size of a human, the resulting bugs would be about as nimble as a wheel dozer with flat tires.
Please feel free to leave a comment or share this article. Thx, Paul.
By the way, if you’re interested in bugs and adventure stories, why not take a look at the story brief of my forthcoming book about a boy who undergoes a strange metamorphosis?