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Bigger Insects

I want a two foot long dragonfly.
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

Selective breeding with dogs and cats has produced myriad shapes, sizes, colours etc. Genetic engineering aside, I was wondering if it would be possible to create larger and larger insects by picking out the biggest ones at each generation.

Humongous dragonflies existed in prehistoric times, so supporting the exoskeleton appears not to be a problem, at least up to a certain size.

I think they would make lovely pets.

sild, Nov 22 2002

Hasbro's BIO Bugs http://media.hasbro...ease.cfm?release=62
or convince Hasbro to keep advancing these until one can fly [krelnik]

A message from a thread entitled: "Re: Why there no big insect? Help!" news://News.CIS.DFN...@corp.supernews.com
it's in 'sci.bio.entomology.misc'. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The New Zealand Weta http://weta.boarsnest.net/
Currently the world's largest insect. [DrBob, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Enormous Paleozoic flesh-eaters created in lab http://www.theregis.../01/paleozoic_park/
breeding larger dragonflies in oxygen-rich atmosphere; I don't know if Dr VandenBrooks read this idea or thought it up himself. [Loris, Mar 01 2011]

Mimic http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119675/
[not_morrison_rm, Apr 09 2011]

Who says penguini can't fly? http://www.telegrap...-BBC-programme.html
[MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 09 2011]

Germ (and possibly bug) enlarger http://www.youtube....watch?v=EFebGZ7FJQQ
Muppet labs [not_morrison_rm, Apr 12 2011]


       eventually they could be trained and used for transportation. the breeding program should start in Australia, the bugs already have a head start.
rbl, Nov 22 2002

       a 12 ft spider would make a great all terrain vehicle, and carry several passengers with ease. actually, it would be a living tow truck too.
rbl, Nov 22 2002

       "Just pop in your patent HB time machine."   

       Cool. Made of shiny leather!
bristolz, Nov 22 2002

       Want bigger insects? Come to New York.
snarfyguy, Nov 22 2002

       I thought insects had a mass-to-surface area limit beyond which they wouldn't be able to intake enough oxygen.
bookworm, Nov 22 2002

       [bookworm] - you've nailed it. I just found out that oxygen levels were much much higher at the times of the big dragonflies. Rich enough to cause fire to rip through forests all the time, even when it was raining really heavily - wow!   

       And there were scorpions a metre long. Oh well, it was a nice thought.
sild, Nov 26 2002

       Starship Troopers acommin !
skinflaps, Nov 26 2002

       I thought that insects couldn't function beyond a certain size due to sturctural weaknesses of their exoskeleton. (Which is why everything 'big' these days has an endoskeleton?)
Jinbish, Nov 26 2002

       That was the received wisdom when I were a lad.
angel, Nov 26 2002

       Then how did these prehistoric behemuths do it? Gravity hasn't changed, though the extreme prehistoric humidity may have provided a bit of support. As [bookworm]'s already pointed out, the limiting factor is oxygen, not structural.
sild, Nov 26 2002

       I agree. I'm merely confirming for [Jinbish] that the alternative explanation, however incorrect, is somewhat widespread.
angel, Nov 26 2002

       I still say that the dinosaur killing meteor, hit the earth at a tangent to its spin and slowed it down just enough so that the big critters couldn't stay up anymore. The gravity did change.   

       The only big things we have here are squids, ohhh and we have the giant east coast earthworm too I think that grows damn big, I remember finding one on a school camp as long as my arm.
Gulherme, Nov 30 2002

       Bugs have blood don't they? Have them where a lung machien hooked up to a O2 tank. Or just have them as museum exibits.
my-nep, Oct 18 2003

       Atmospheric oxygen levels used to be much higher allowing those larger insects. If you're willing to implant an oxygen/blood transfer unit you can breed them quite large.
Voice, Mar 01 2011

       You could probably do it in an atmosphere higher in oxygen.
nineteenthly, Mar 01 2011

       [ninteenthly]'s got it. Giant insects living in high oxygen terraria, for the win. [+]
mouseposture, Mar 02 2011

       Excuse me, but why are you guys still speculating about whether higher oxygen would help when I've posted a link to an article about doing just that?
Loris, Mar 04 2011

       According to Dr. VandenBrooks, who had some issues with the accuracy of the article ("Crazed bofffins" forsooth!) 31% O_2 is good for a 15% increase in size. Hardly seems worth the trouble.   

       Seriously, [Loris], that site appears to be a content farm.
mouseposture, Mar 05 2011

       All of this concentration of wealth in the US, and none of these folks are using it to genetically engineer monsters. It gets wasted on prostitutes and politicians.
bungston, Mar 05 2011

       //Seriously, [Loris], that site appears to be a content farm.//   

       If you consider news sites to be content farms, then sure. They syndicate a minority of articles.   

       Anyway, rearing dragonflies appears to be a hard thing to do at the best of times.
I'm not sure whether the 15% increase is in length or weight - obviously the former is more significant (and would presumably lead to the insects being approximately 50% heavier).
Further selection could presumably generate larger dragonflies.
Loris, Mar 05 2011

       Is a faster spinning past Earth really such a stretch?
It accounts for the larger life forms, richer oxygen concentration along a more eliptical equator, Pangea, volcanic activity of the pac rim, and the completely unpredictable weather patterns we now have.
Which you'd think should have stabalized over millenia or so of status quo.

       Even if it isn't proven that the moon was once part of the Earth, it should be a straight up math problem to figure out the size, and tangent to true counter spin, of impact that it would take to launch that amount of ejecta, less extra-solar impacts over time, from the Earth's current gravity well, less impacts over time, to coalesce into a sphere at the rate it is now retreating from us, and the rotational speed that the Earth must have once spun at to make all of those factors align...and then run simulations to see if critters that big would exist under those conditions.   


       Shouldn't it?   


       A faster past rotational rate would have created an equitorial bulge around the Earth causing all land masses to have migrated to the equator. This new shape and how much more distant from the Earths center the land masses would have been add in factors that are not taken into account on that links thread.
(thanks for that by the way)
Also the size of the mass needed to launch something with the mass of our moon would have had to been much larger than the moon itself in order for the moon to have escaped our gravity well. This extra mass needs to be subtracted from the past Earth's mass along with factoring in the increased distance from the core 'and' an increased rotational speed.
That new figure will be significantly different I believe.

       //Is a faster spinning past Earth really such a stretch?//   

       You would have to account for how it has slowed down to its present rate of rotation. The only significant event was the formation of the moon, which was before life on earth (or at least life as it now) began.   

       The Earth's rotation is slowing by about 1% every 30 million years, so was about 10-15% faster in the carboniferous.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 09 2011

       [simpleton] - you can post links without having to break them up, by using the "link" button which appears just under the idea itself.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 09 2011

       That last link is so cool! Especially Poincare's observations. I had only visualized the Earth spinning fast enough to account for critters the size of dinosaurs and now I can't help but wonder, (pretentious git that I is), if I would have visualized that same shape had I spun it faster.

       //You would have to account for how it has slowed down to its present rate of rotation. The only significant event was the formation of the moon, which was before life on earth (or at least life as it now) began.//
I read over and over again that it was thought to have formed 4.5 billion years ago but I can't find what evidence that assumption is based on.
If Poincare is right there is a good chance that a lifeless moon could have blobbed off of the Earth at any time in it's past. It would explain; why the moon only shows us one face, why there was once a single continent at the base of the piriform, and how rotational speed fast enough to account for larger life forms without loss of atmosphere could be possible.

       It's fascinating.
I would very much like to see a physics simulation of the interactions of the two spheroids after separation.
Also, there must be a formula to determine whether a spinning orbital body would gain rotational momentum from impacts over time or lose momentum.

       //implant an oxygen/blood transfer unit //   

       Mimic, bugs with lungs. Not real, just a film. See link. Surely if the earth was spinning that quick...as the coriolis effect wrenches the hunk of meat out of the mouth of the T rex before it can swallow it..and astronomy would have been a bugger with the constellations passing overhead every five minutes. On the upside the working day would be shorter.   

       //could have blobbed off of the Earth at any time in it's past// Well,I remember seeing it in the skies in the 1970's so it was probably before then.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 09 2011

       Of course, given that we all live on the inside of a hollow Earth, it's more likely that the spin was slower in the past, accounting for the lower "gravity" (as the centripugal forces are often termed) back then.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 09 2011

       Ok, well not 'any' time in the past but why 4.5 billion years ago?   

       We're living on the inside of a hollow earth? Then how come penguins can't fly?
mitxela, Apr 09 2011

       What do you mean "can't fly"? <link>
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 09 2011

       //the etiquette here//   

       We don' need no steenkin' etiquette
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 10 2011

       //Might also explain why the moon is moving further and further away from the earth.//   

       All meetings end if separation.   

       But, thinking back to the rapidly spinning Earth, sure the working day would be shorter, but by the time I'd gotten home it would be time to go back to work again, you just can't win..? I we're on the inside of the hollow earth, then who's on the outside?
not_morrison_rm, Apr 10 2011

       //I we're on the inside of the hollow earth, then who's on the outside?// We are. The hollow earth is shaped like a Klein bottle.
mouseposture, Apr 10 2011

       On the other hand, if you really don't want big bugs, then going to asteroids, breaking down the water there and sneakily bringing it back to Earth to use in fuel cells should keep that pesky O2 level down.. or just a rolled up newspaper?   

       On the subject of bigger bugs, old clip from the muppet show when the science guys get bored of microscopes and just enlarge the germs...see link
not_morrison_rm, Apr 12 2011


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