The field of entomology is built on the humble pin: Biologists venture into grasslands and forests, scoop up insects, euthanize them, and pin them onto the trays that make up natural history collections in museums and universities, thus immortalizing the specimens for future scientists to examine. But the diabolical ironclad beetle—its actual name, though it’s more formally known as Phloeodes diabolicus—will suffer no such indignity. Native to the southwestern US, it’s known as a “pin-bender,” an insect so tough that when biologists try to drive a pin through its black, bumpy shell, the puny metal gives way. It’s so tough that entomologists have to drill a hole through it first, then drive the stake through. Which is an extra indignity, come to think of it.
The diabolical ironclad beetle is so tough, in fact, that if you run one over with a car, it just walks away. It can