Do insects get fat?

A Florida entomologist in the 1960’s found that he could turn about half of a mosquito’s body weight into fat if he handfed it specific foods.

Fruit Fly

More recently, a study partially conducted by biologist Rudolph Schilder at Penn State in 2014 found that after inducing dragonflies with a parasitic infection, they build up lipids in their thorax and around their muscles sometimes making them too fat to fly. Oddly, one of Schilder’s colleagues found that some of the plump but healthy dragonflies ended up with stronger flight muscles and were able to reproduce more easily.

The fruit fly was the most prevalent insect studied in regards to obesity. The results showed that fruit flies can get fat and also develop a condition similar to diabetes. They also often had shorter lifespans.

A fruit fly’s exoskeleton can’t expand once it reaches adulthood, but it can expand at any time before then. This means fruit flies (possibly others insects) can get fat but it’s more likely to occur in the juvenile stage.

Interesting Trivia

  1. In 1947, fruit flies became the first animal sent into space.
  2. A single dung beetle can drag over 1,000 times its body weight. This is the equivalent of a human pulling six buses!
  3. An ant-eating assassin bug piles its victims on its body to scare off predators.
  4. Some male stoneflies do push-ups to attract mates.

Interesting Video

Interesting Sources

  1. – Ask Anything: Can Insects Get Fat 
  2. – Can bugs get fat?

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