Mandible

Definition - What does Mandible mean?

Mandibles are the jaw-like appendages or pincers protruding at the front of some insect’s mouths. Mandibles can be positioned either side by side or one above the other.

Insects perform a number of tasks with their mandibles. Some insects use their mandibles to tear and cut grasses, leaves, or flowers. Mandibles are also a main defense mechanism for many insects, and used to fend off predators or compete for mating rights.

MaximumYield explains Mandible

In some cases mandibles may appear to humans as threatening, but most often they do little more harm than enable the insect to grasp a finger or piece of clothing.

Some insects lack grasping forelegs, so mandibles perform this function for them. Most beetles have mandibles for grabbing food, fighting other beetles, or for gripping while climbing.

For insects such as ants, mandibles are valuable for gripping onto an object that is carried back to the nest.

The shape of mandibles varies from species to species and even within a specific species. Ants may have hundreds of different designs or shapes.

Carnivorous insects use mandibles to decapitate prey and to break the prey down into more edible sizes.

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