Even though the denizens of the insect world are small and fragile, they can surely pack a punch when it comes to sheer strength. Just like the ant being capable of lifting 10 times its own weight, cockroaches can bite through almost anything, researchers say, exerting a force roughly 50 times their own weight due to their specially evolved mandible musculature. That means they can bite something five times stronger than an average human.
Cockroaches are one of the most resilient species found on this planet, residing on Earth almost unchanged since the time when dinosaurs roamed these lands. They can even be capable of surviving a nuclear blast and thrive in a highly radioactive environment. One of the reasons they are so resilient when it comes to extreme environment is the fact that they have an absurdly fast adaptability speed.
In 13 years , from 1980 to 1993, they evolved their internal chemistry so that they are repelled by sugar because of the sugary cockroach poison used in the 1980. Another scary fact is that can actually live without their heads, even if for a limited period of time. True, they will no longer be able to function in their environment due to the lack of information given by their lost head (no more brain and antennae) and they will eventually starve to death, but if they ate right before their head is lobbed off, they will probably live for about a week or so.
A research group from the Cambridge University, the Zoology department, has been studying the force of insect bites throughout the years, in order to further improve our own biomechanical technology. When the study on cockroaches arose, they found a peculiar phenomenon: cockroaches have specialized muscles directly linked to their mandibles that store energy slower than normal muscles, but exert much more force. The way these muscles work is similar to how cars rev up their engines before starting a race.
Scientists at the Cambridge University basically put cockroaches on miniature operating tables, facing upwards, in order to study how their horizontal bladed mandibles worked. They noted that cockroaches have different bites depending on the muscles used, ranging from weak short bites, driven by the muscles found in their mandibles, to stronger and longer bites, when slower muscle fibers extending into their body started to work. The latter muscles took time to reach the needed strength to generate almost 50 times their own body weight (roughly 0.5 Newtons).
Cockroaches used these evolved mandibles similar to how we use a Swiss army knife, for eating, hunting and defense. Given that cockroaches can bite through almost anything, researchers say that this can be applied to surgical machinery, in order to better improve strength without sacrificing size or precision.