MONSTROUS insects??????

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ai-360
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MONSTROUS insects??????

Post by ai-360 » Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:03 am

After seeing on of those 40's movies about huge, enourmous ants attacking human cities i wondered if its ever possible to have an insect of that size. And I mean big!! 6 feet high. (you get the picture)
My teacher told me that thats impossible and it was foolish to think so. He started talking about their exoskeletons not supporting their internal structure....something like that. So can some one please clarify. I also toyed with the idea of beetles molting their exoskeletons (shells) and growing like that.

I'm pretty new here and i don't know if this subject has been done before, but i'm just itching to find out the answer.

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James
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Post by James » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:35 pm

Giant ants would not be able to get enough oxygen, due to the change in surface area to volume ratio; as well as the fact they wouldn't be strong enough to support themselves.

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mith
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Post by mith » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:32 pm

Largest insects were in the devonian period also know as age of insects. You might wanna research that :D
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Post by MrMistery » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:13 pm

Do a forum search... Insects can not get very big for a number of reasons, the most obvious ones are the lack of oxygen and the exoskeleton
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Post by ai-360 » Wed Jun 29, 2005 3:54 am

if beetles were bigger wouldn't that mean that they would also be stronger.....enough to support themselves?

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Post by canalon » Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:09 pm

ai-360 wrote:if beetles were bigger wouldn't that mean that they would also be stronger.....enough to support themselves?


NO! It's not a muscle problem it's a skeleton problem!

All the big animals have an endo skeleton: bones INSIDE their body, which are mineral and strong enough to carry them. But insect have an exoskeleton, that is a skeleton outside their body, made of chitin, a protein. Chitin is not as strong and rigid than calcium, and the only way to carry the weight of a giant insect it would need to be very thick (more than a foot IIRC) and beside not being very efficient, it would also cause a lot of problem for the respiration of insects that use diffusion of O2 through holes in their exoskeleton.

HTH

Patrick

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James
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Post by James » Wed Jun 29, 2005 2:52 pm

This site explains it well (page 2):
http://www.wcsscience.com/scale/factors.html

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Post by MrMistery » Wed Jun 29, 2005 7:35 pm

@mithril
I also heard of the age of insetcs, and through i don't remember very well i think it was devonian. But i think the person who said that meant it by their number, biomass etc, and not by size
Insects can not grow because they couldn't get enough oxygen
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Post by mith » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:46 pm

It might have been another period but devonian was when they appeared so probably not when they were numerous yet.

This quote concerns the carboniferous period.
quote:

Pennsylvanian arthropods include many gigantic forms:

* Giant dragonfly relatives with 72 cm+ wingspan (largest known insects)
* Giant spider (or spider relatives), with 34 cm long body and possibly 70 cm or wider leg spread!
* Scorpions (NOT eurypterids, but true scorpions) over 60 cm long!
* Arthropleurids ("godzillapedes", giant relatives of millipedes) over 2 m long and 15 cm wide!!

from
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/G102/102lpal4.htm
It's kinda big if you think about it 72cm is about 3feet or the length of a dog. But of course you could probably snap it like a twig(read thin)
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Post by MrMistery » Thu Jun 30, 2005 8:12 pm

* Arthropleurids ("godzillapedes", giant relatives of millipedes) over 2 m long and 15 cm wide!!

Ok, so i can find it in my heart to believe 2 m long. But 15 cm wide? Oxygen can not diffuse more than 2.5 cm? Please explain how this instect lived
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mith
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Post by mith » Thu Jun 30, 2005 8:16 pm

maybe it was flat?
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Post by Beetle » Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:40 pm

Maybe the traheas were wider or maybe they were fast moving milipedes so they had activ ventilation of traheas (like dragonflies and vasps today)?
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