The Bombardier Beetle

The Bombardier Beetle

A BOMBARDIER is a type of soldier. The bombardier beetle was given its name because of the intricate and deadly mechanism in its tail with which it defends itself. At the end of the beetle’s tail is a tube 1, which is basically a gun barrel. Behind the barrel is a chemical factory. A pair of glands 2 manufacture hydroquinine and hydrogen peroxide, which are stored in reservoirs3. When the beetle wants to open fire these chemicals are loaded into a combustion chamber filled with water4, and mixed with two other chemicals—catalases and peroxidases— which are secreted by glands in the transfer duct5. This causes a reaction which instantaneously heats the water in the combustion chamber and causes it to be ejected as a boiling spray of noxious steam. The spray can reach to 200 times the beetle’s length, and can be aimed in any direction with pinpoint accuracy. It is a superbly