DID YOU KNOW? Scientists have identified more than 1 million types of insects, and they estimate there could be 30 million species left to be discovered! And no bug is the same.
Each one has something unique about it. There are bugs that taste with their feet , bugs that see with 5 eyes, and bugs that do dances to communicate. The wide world of bugs is full of cool and crazy things. But there’s one bug that will really blow your mind, and its a species of beetle…
Wait a minute, not that kind of beetle! We’re talking about the Bombardier beetle, a unique species that has an explosive defense mechanism to protect it from predators.
Bombardier beetles live in forests and grassy areas all over the world. They like to eat other insects, especially at night. But when they feel threatened, you better watch out!
Inside its abdomen, the Bombardier beetle has two separate glands where it produces certain chemicals. When the bug gets scared, it mixes the chemicals together and creates a hot liquid, which it can fire in almost any direction. This chemical reaction can harm other bugs, and can even burn skin. Just like a bee sting, this singeing stream of hot liquid is a warning to let other bugs know to leave this beetle alone.
The chemical reaction doesn’t hurt the beetle in any way; it just protects it from predators. The bombardier beetle makes the reaction by opening and closing small pathways between the two chemical chambers in its abdomen. It makes sure only a tiny drop passes through at a time, and stores some of the chemicals for later. Once the bomb goes off, the beetle can mix more chemicals to release another hot stream.
The wide world of bugs is amazing, but this beetle is the bomb!