Animals

See the Amazing Way a Beetle Survives Being Eaten

Friday, 9 February 2018

As defence mechanisms go, the bombardier beetle certainly packs one with a punch. When disturbed, they can eject a hot noxious chemical spray from the tip of their abdomen with a popping sound - hence the beetle's name.

The bombardier beetle is widespread and can be found on all continents bar Antarctic. The UK plays host to two species of the bombardier beetle–the common and the streaked–though they are rare. Most species of the bombardier beetle are carnivorous and typically live in woodlands and grasslands in the temperate zones. 

The noxious spray is made by combining two chemicals:  hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, which produce a thermal reaction that brings the temperature of the mixture to near the boiling point of water. The spray not only smells foul but the beetle can direct it with great accuracy too.  

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