Recently I heard about a particularly interesting arthropod, and as my blog ideas are running low I figure it was an excellent topic to post about. The Bombardier Beetle is a part of the ground beetle family known as Carabidae. There are over 500 separate species of Bombardier Beetle, that are all recognized by their unique defense mechanism that protects them against predators. The beetle can spray a hot mixture of painful benzoquinones at a temperature of around 100°C at its enemies. This painful mixture is propelled out of the beetle’s abdomen at an enemy nearby.
The compounds that eventually leave the beetles body build up in separate chambers near the beetle’s abdomen. One chamber contains enzymes and another chamber contains hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide. When threatened the beetle releases both components, which combine in an extremely exothermic reaction that results in the high temperature and formation of benzoquinones released. Some species of the Bombardier Beetle are also capable of rotating their glands 270° enabling them to spray their defense liquid in front of them. This particularly useful defense mechanism serves the Bombardier Beetle in its ground soil environment. Bombardier Beetles have also been argued as evidence for creationism….. or really cool evolution.