Thursday, October 28, 2010
Creature Feature: Bombardier Beetle.
Before you say anything, yes, that beetle just shot boiling liquid and vapor out of its ass. That was a bombardier beetle, which means it is from any of several tribes of ground beetle. Although the beetle in the video was probably African from what I have read, bombardier beetles are found worldwide. In German, they have been given the awesome-sounding name of
Bombardierkäfer. That should be a Rammstein song.
FEUER FREI! Bang bang!
This beetle has one of the most stunning defense mechanisms in the animal kingdom. Without getting into too many chemical details, it has one chamber in its rear for hydrogen peroxide and another for hydroquinone. When threatened, it releases both chemicals at once. The result is a messy, smelly, smoky explosion not unlike the sort found in chemistry classes.
Valid shirt is valid.
The heat created from the chemical reaction can reach up to 100 degrees Celsius - the temperature at which water boils. About a fifth of this nasty solution is vaporized, scaring off many potential predators. Some of the bombardiers in Africa can even tuck their abdomens beneath their legs to make their aim more accurate. This was the bug that Animal Planet cited for for making their dragons' firebreath plausible, but given the series of fast pulses necessary to keep this insect from burning its rear end, making anything breathe a solid stream of fire still isn't a good idea. Just give it a gatling gun instead.
Much more plausible than a regular dragon. Really.
Also, they are carnivorous. This means that, should one grow to immense size, we are not safe from its jaws or acid-squirting rear. It would make an excellent kaiju or Pokemon, but nooooo...
Oh, c'mon. You made a MOVE called "Boiling Water," Nintendo.