Aristotle Erred

Super X-ray proves insects do breath.

WASHINGTON Researchers have settled one of the longest-running if lesser-known controversies in science: Bugs, it turns out, do breathe.

The discovery may seem small, and by some measures it is. Exposing insects to X-ray beams 1 billion times more powerful than ones used by doctors, scientists have observed pulsing, lunglike structures that typically are smaller than the commas in this sentence.

In some ways I’m fairly surprised that the anatomy of insects hasn’t been studied at this level before. I didn’t realize that the required technology simply wasn’t there until recently.

Update: Scientific American also has a brief article on the topic (with picture).