The bombardier beetle can squirt boiling-hot, noxious chemicals at its enemies quickly, over a wide range of directions. How it does this is amazing!
The bombardier beetle has two reservoirs in its abdomen where it stores hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone. When the beetle is threatened, it releases the two chemicals into a chamber where they react chemically. The reaction produces heat, steam, and 1,4-benzoquinone. The temperature produced can reach the boiling point of water. Valves from the storage reservoirs close to protect the beetle, the pressure builds up, and the chemical produced is fired forcefully at the enemy with a popping sound.
Benzoquinone has a smell similar to chlorine bleach and hot plastic. This corrosive chemical is very irritating to the eyes and respiratory system of the target. It may even be deadly to enemy insects. The beetle’s chambers store enough of the chemicals to fire about 20 rounds. Most bombardiers turn their abdomen to aim at the enemy, but others have a “canon” that can rotate 270 degrees for aiming. These creatures are accurate marksmen—or “marksbugs.”
Some people suggest that this incredible system just happened accidentally by natural selection acting on random mutations. We think it’s another evidence of design by a Master Designer.
© Roland Earnst