Nests and honeycombs of wasps are sturdy because they incorporate fibers in a parallel pattern.
"Reinforcement by the planned use of fibers, as in fiberglass or ferroconcrete, is also evident in the thin cardboard pillars of wasps' nests and honeycombs. In principle, these pillars consist of the same material as the rest of the structure. However, they derive their great strength from the fact that all the wood fibers are arranged in a parallel pattern. That is to say, the wasps instinctively take into consideration the strength requirements of their building materials while building their nests--and they do so with ingenious simplicity." (Tributsch 1984:10)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Tributsch, H. 1984. How life learned to live. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 218 p.
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