Tough Shell – Is the Beetle Shell Related to Beetles’ Evolutionary Success?

Written by: Nancy Miorelli

Last week,  March 5 – 11, 2017 I had the most wonderful opportunity to tweet from the Real Scientists Twitter Account. Every week they pick a different scientist, science communicator, or artist to curate the account. And how lucky I am that I was selected!!

I talked mainly about butterfly wings, conservation, and SciComm but also did my best to answer some questions that came in.

This was one of of the questions after I posted this quick fact about beetles which I’ve mentioned before in this article.

PC: Nancy Miorelli

The quick and dirty of it is – yes!



Beetles have modified fore-wings that are hardened into a shell. This shell acts as a protective covering even if some beetles, like fireflies, only have thickened leathery wings. The sheer amount of insects that have hardened their fore-wings in some way or another like beetles, grasshoppers, mantises, cockroaches, earwigs, and true bugs suggests that it is evolutionary adventurous.

Put perhaps, not as advantageous as letting your offspring grow inside another insect like the parasitoid wasps. The only way we’ll ever know if there’s more beetles or more wasps is if we get more people studying them! So join us!

Chalcidid wasp walking on an already parasitized hawk moth caterpillar.
PC: Nancy Miorelli


About SciBugs

Entomologist, Science Communicator, and Crafter Twitter: @SciBugs
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