#1 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, January 14th, 2014 12:08
#2 By: just_ok, January 14th, 2014 12:12
And what, exactly, is the difference between a bug and an insect? Is it a matter of social upbringing/standing?
#3 By: chenille, January 14th, 2014 12:22
Bug is a vernacular that means different sorts of living things. Sometimes it only means hemipterans, a use which can be distinguished by saying "true bugs". Sometimes it even includes bacteria, as when someone says they caught a bug.
Usually it means insects and also similar relatives like spiders, centipedes, or pillbugs, even though they don't all have the right number of legs, but not say crabs which have a larger and more benthos-oriented design. I guess some people think that's a pejorative, but I find it's a useful category to have.
#4 By: snig, January 14th, 2014 12:49
Cuticle is the structure, basically another term for exoskeleton, not the name of a protein. It's made up of different proteins as well as the polysaccharide chitin.
#5 By: t3kna, January 14th, 2014 13:00
I have confirmed that he's got an outer layer of protein polysaccharides. Has a funny habit of shedding his cells and replacing them with polarized silicon, which gives him a prolonged resistance to adverse environmental conditions.
#6 By: Glen Blank, January 14th, 2014 13:12
...and the real story here is that the difference between 'squish' and 'crunch' is that, in crunchy (hard) cuticle, the protein/chitin/pigment composite material is more strongly crosslinked than in squishy (soft) cuticle.
The real takeaway here - the new part of this news - is that the crucial difference is the degree of crosslinking in the cuticle material.
So the answer is "crosslinking (in cuticle)", not just "cuticle." [smiley goes here*].
* "smiley," I say, not "idiotic-looking yellow cartoon face."
Bah. Fookin' b&d software.
#7 By: snig, January 14th, 2014 13:20
Funny strange, or funny "ha-ha"?
#8 By: Gristle McNerd, January 14th, 2014 13:30
Thank you, you saved me from having to write that comment myself. The sad part is, the source is actually an university's homepage... you'd think they'd be able not to make such a silly mistake.
#9 By: Michael Zbyszyński, January 14th, 2014 14:19
So, deep fry the squishy ones and roast the crunchy ones?
#10 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, January 14th, 2014 15:13
Apropos of cuticle: in at least some cases it has some very, very, interesting nanostructural properties...
More generally, I get the impression that the varying compositions of different flavors of the stuff allow quite impressively tailored composite structures, with differing degrees of stiffness and other properties throughout as circumstances demand.
#11 By: Peregrinus Phoenix, January 14th, 2014 15:34
#12 By: t3kna, January 14th, 2014 16:03
snig, the first time I ever heard the word polysaccharide used was in the original Alien; for me, it's forever associated with Ash the Goddamn Robot. I understand that for people who actually know what the word means (i.e., people other than me), it evokes a different context.
#13 By: snig, January 14th, 2014 17:13
I had to google it to find the reference. I did lab stuff for a while, so polysachharides were part of the day job, but silicon, for me, though the second most common element on the planet, was initially known as the major constituent of the Horta and its eggs.
#14 By: Boundegar, January 14th, 2014 19:27
It's like chocolate chip cookies - it's all about cooking temperature and personal preference.
#15 By: Nick Gold, January 14th, 2014 22:17
Lobsters are sometimes referred to as bugs. And I definitely think of them as such, along with crabs and shrimps. Big yummy sea bugs. Mmmmmmm
#16 By: Artor , January 15th, 2014 00:45
Cuticle? Don't you mean chitin? A cuticle is the bed from which your fingernails grow, like a follicle produces hair. Chitin is the hard stuff exoskeletons are made from.
#17 By: Maggie Koerth-Baker, January 19th, 2014 12:08
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