Research Highlights: The novelty of this study is the deep analysis of the morphologic, geometric and mechanical performance of longhorn beetle larvae mouthparts. Furthermore, a metal nano identification of jaw reinforced parts was made. Background and Objectives: Analysis of insect mechanical properties has shown an important application in the develop of bionic technologies such as new materials, industrial machines and structural concepts. This study aims to determine the mechanical and geometric properties of longhorn beetle (Stromatium unicolor
Olivier 1795) larvae mouthparts to improve the development of innovative cutting tools. In addition, this study obtains a nano identification of metals in the cuticle of the mouthparts, which will enable the development of new nontoxic and sustainable preservation agents against xylophagous insects based on nanoparticles. Materials and Methods: five third-larval-stage samples of Stromatium unicolor
were used to study its mandible morphologic, geometric and mechanical properties. To this end, mouthparts were analyzed by several microscopic techniques using a scanning electron microscope, a stereomicroscope and an optical microscope. Composition analysis was performed using with two Analytical-Inca X-ray detectors, dispersive energy spectroscopy and dispersive wavelength spectroscopy. Results: The main geometric parameters of the insect jaw are the edge angle (β = 77.3°), maximum path depth of the insect (120 μm), length (800 µm) and mouthpart movement, which were identified and measured. The chemical analysis results of the jaw tissues shows the presence of zinc and manganese. Conclusions: The geometry and angles of the mouthparts can be applied in the fabrication of bionic self-sharpening cutting tools. Molecular compounds that form the reinforcing elements in the jaws can be used to develop wood preservatives based on nanometals and metal absorption and metabolism inhibitors.
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