Bombardier Beetle. It’s All In The Name

June 23rd, 2011 by Ray Burman Leave a reply »

Bombardier beetle defense

Now I haven’t actually seen one of these little beetles up close and it’s probably just aswell…

They have an amazing defense mechanism that is quite hard to believe, its almost alien!

This beetle has the ability to spay a liquid from their rear end.  Now you may say ‘what is so amazing about that?’ We all know that the skunk uses this same method to ward off predators.

What is different in this case is the liquid is 100°C,  the same as boiling water!

Its called the bombardier beetle, and these have unfortunately become quite rare in the UK.

So how can an animal withstand these temperatures inside its tiny body? Well the answer is, it doesn’t have to….

How does the bombardier beetle deal with this

The Bombardier beetle stores two different types of chemicals in it’s body within separate chambers, and then when it needs to defend itself, these chemicals are then quickly mixed together which causes a very fast chemical reaction.

At the precise moment, this toxic mixture is then released as a steaming jet at some unsuspecting creature.  Now this jet of liquid is usually enough to ward the attacker off and in the case of small animals like other insects, kill them altogether!

How did this defense mechanism for the bombardier beetle came into being?

It’s certainly beyond my ability to comprehend.  Your thoughts on this please.


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