# Are insects really strong or just small?

It's a common statement that insects are stronger, faster and jump higher than almost anything by mass.

However, this leaves out that compared to their mass, all large creatures are actually pretty weak and small creatures are usually strong.

Have there been any studies where the strength of insects and mammals, for instance, is compared directly rather than by this ridiculous "per mass" method? I'd like to have comparisons between creatures that are similarly heavy.

My goal is to figure out the differences in strength between insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, etc while actually considering that strength doesn't scale as easily as mass.

• How do you define "strength" ? You call the "per mass" method ridiculous, but what's a "direct" comparison? The most direct one I can think of is "how many grams can this creature lift", and I don't think you need a comparative study to find that hundreds of kilograms (what an elephant can lift) >>> hundreds of milligrams (what an ant can lift). Strength scales with mass, so a direct comparison of strength comes down to a comparison of mass. Strength does not scale linearly with mass, hence the flaws of "per mass", so the question is finding a better scale. So: "how do you define strength"? – Oosaka Mar 14 '18 at 18:44
• The issue is that strength and mass are not in a direct relation. Increasing mass by 10x does not increase strength by 10x. The most direct one you linked is exactly what I want to find out, but for comparisons between different creatures. The key is that the comparison has to be apples to apples. No comparing creatures of very different masses and assuming that they are equivalent. Strength is pulling, pushing, lifting. Any application of force really, as long as it can be generalized enough that we can compare many different creatures on the same benchmark and that has studies. – Xonok Mar 15 '18 at 1:35
• Finding a better scale would perhaps be a result of this question. As long as we have good comparisons we can just plot them out on a graph and it should be quite informative about the exact relation between size and strength. Also about how they vary by type of creature. – Xonok Mar 15 '18 at 1:36
• "it should be quite informative about the exact relation between size and strength." We already know that: strength varies roughly as the square of linear size. Are you asking for an explanation of how this was determined? – Oosaka Mar 15 '18 at 9:49
• Please quote a source with link for the "common statement" you refer to in your question, especially the "strong" aspect. Or else take responsibility for it yourself — e.g. "I believe that…" because otherwise it sounds as if you are setting up a straw horse to knock down. – David Mar 15 '18 at 14:38