Why bugs die when crushed.

This one


Yeah, I’ll go with death by catastrophic trauma. The disconnection/interruption of the system parts knocks the life out of it.

If you squish the bug, it loses a lot of its fluids, and different usually separated fluids will mix with each other. The cells that were happily bathed in hemolymph are now bathed in a mix of rapidly dehydrating hemolymph, gut contents, lots of bacteria, and whatever else was on your shoe.

In addition to nutrients and gas exchange, cells need to bathed in fluid with the correct pH and balance of electrolytes. Neurons, for example, won’t be able to “fire” if the extracellular fluid doesn’t have precisely the right levels of electrolytes. Or perhaps they’ll “fire” constantly, and the still-attached legs will twitch out of control.

But if you’re careful, it’s not too difficult to dissect an insect and keep particular tissues and organs alive for a while. With a bit more care, you can culture certain types cells from an insect (or any other organism really) and they’ll grow indefinitely.

That really skeeved me, man.

“Crushing” a bug effectively destroys the physical integrity of it’s nervous system and the various critical autonomic sub-systems and (least importantly) what passes for it’s “brain”. The fact that the cells in the insects body may still be full of potential chemical energy is kind of beside the point if the sensory, locomotion and nervous system wiring is destroyed.


I’m sure she didn’t mean to bug you.

Ha…I was thinking more along the lines of the one Linus plays…

The first two replies to a question shouldn’t be put downs/jokes. If the answer is obvious, then fight ignorance and give it without being a dick. Also, “wrecking their machinery” is a vague non-answer that clearly doesn’t address what the OP was asking.


This thread was actually started in MPSIMS, where General Questions standards don’t apply.

In any case, if you have a problem with the replies of other posters, you should report them rather than taking it upon yourself to scold them, especially when you aren’t contributing any factual information yourself.

General Questions Moderator

Ok, fair enough; I didn’t realize it had started out in MPSIMS. I think it would have been worthwhile though, to include a brief explanation to the OP as to why such responses were acceptable, instead of simply warning him for using the T word. It was a legitimate post that was clearly looking for a substantive answer and the OP seemed sincerely perplexed as to why posters were joking and ridiculing the question rather than attempting to answer it.


If one would simply remove the head or some other part, or maybe even a few parts, then I suppose that I would also wonder why it dies. But if we’re talking about crushing the thing, then I think this post is pretty obvious:

Many insects, and spiders in particular, move around by using fluid pressure, rather than just muscular contractions, to control the movement of their legs. I’d imagine that destroying the exoskeleton makes it impossible for them to regulate the pressure in their limbs, making them immobile and creating the appearance of death, possibly before they’re even actually dead from the trauma of smushing.