Question on insects with strongest PSI Bite Force

Hello All,

I am new here, I apologize in advance if this is not the location to post this question.

I am currently working on a realistic fiction book about insects, I was wondering if anyone would happen to know the PSI of a Stag Beetle bite, otherwise if there are any other insects with stronger PSI that have pincers/mandibles.

I appreciate your responses. Thank you.

Google Scholar is usually a good start for that kind of queries.

You’ll find some articles that are free to access, such as Goyens, J., Dirckx, J., & Aerts, P. (2016). Jaw morphology and fighting forces in stag beetles. In Journal of Experimental Biology. The Company of Biologists. or Rühr, P. T., Edel, C., Frenzel, M., & Blanke, A. (2022). A bite force database of 654 insect species. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

For your purposes, you don’t really need to get into the weeds, the abstract is often enough (even though especially for creative writing, the details can be interesting). The second one is a bit tricky since the database is a bit heavy to handle, but thankfully you can then try a regular search engine with the authors’ names and the research keywords to find popular science/science communication articles on that bit of research, for instance this article.

Edit: Citations converted from DOI with an online tool. I no longer have anything to do with academia, I can be as sloppy as I want.


Hello @bvcz thank you for your response! Yeah I think I might have to do another approach to this maybe? Long story short a lab is invaded but the PSI it takes to bend/break steel ranges from 30,000-300,000, it would take an enormous stag beetle to try to break that and it might be too much for it. So I might have to go with something corrosive or something like a bombardier beetle.

1 Like

I haven’t seen stag beetles. Once I was in a forest in brunei and taking a break near a log, a gigantic ant of about an inch long bit onto the back of my shouder. I can’t see it but I can instantly feel the pain.
Not insect, but a crustacean, a mantis shrimp punched through the side of my thumb once. The force is definitely the greatest on a sharp tip.
Asian long horn beetles can bite. It chew through wood.

1 Like

I think the titan beetle, it can bite through pencils. The force needed to break steel is not a constant but depends on the thickness of the steel. I think any steel thin enough for a beetle to bite through is likely to bend rather than break, but that would depend on the brittleness of the alloy and the sharpness of the jaws

Another strong biter would the the Australian raspy cricket

If you are looking at all arthropods, I would guess the claw of a coconut grab is the strongest

For most corrosive I would say the vinegaroon (an arachnid), the acid they spray is the acid in vinegar, but at such a concentration that we would have to use safety precautions to handle it in the chem lab at school. And metal has a particular tendency to react with, and therefore be corroded by, acid

Dinomyrmex gigas?

I think it is. If I can remember, it was a soldier ant. These type tends to have bigger jaws.

@chugbug111 @insectobserver123 Thank you guys for answering and giving me some ideas! So I am looking for a Hexapoda possibly with the ability to dig, otherwise I might just sub in that corrosion property and somehow fit in a way where lingering acid from a Vinegaroon/ Giant Whipscorpion.

I would consider the Australian Raspy Cricket maybe possibly using them and alluding to my next books which would be around the world and one of them being near Australia.

That mantis shrimp punch makes me wince even thinking about it, got pinched by a velvet swimming crab in Cornwall a few years ago. Those guys are like steroid spawns of Satan which possessed a shore crab and just decided to upgrade all their stats to maximum capacity, stronger claws, faster legs, quicker reflexes and a lithe and agile build.

1 Like

:rofl: This made me laugh; fully upgraded crab pinch

No problem! Vinegaroons actually do dig burrows in the ground, (not in metal though) so if you are looking for something corrosive that burrows in the ground, that is probably the best bet, although its an arachnid, not a hexapod. The reaction woudl be slow, and would require a mass of vinegaroons much greater than the mass of metal being dissolved

The only realistic way for an insect to break through metal is if the metal is aluminum and a container of gallium is sitting around, then a large insect (eg titan beetle) knocks it over, contaminating the aluminum with gallium making it crumbly and easy to dissolve with just water (from rain, a rubber hose chewed through, ect)