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.
Cockroaches are able to turbocharge their jaws so that they can bite with a force 50 times greater than their own body weight.
The insects have a special set of “slow twitch” muscles that build up strength and then provide a huge boost to their bites. The muscles allow them to bite with a force five times stronger than humans, relative to their size. The cockroaches use the system for shredding food, digging, transport, defence and feeding offspring. But the size of their heads mean all that must be packed into a tiny space.