Having the ability to expel a noxious, mace-like substance from two glands located at the bottom of their abdomen, the Bombardier beetle deters all but the most formidable of predators.
To the casual observer it would appear that the Bombardier beetle expels its noxious brew from its bottom. However, according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Arizona, that is not really what happens. Their findings have been published in the Science journal.
the Guardian liberty Voice reports that researchers examined over 500 live bombardier beetles, all from southern Arizona, and recorded 30 expulsions of noxious spray from 14 of the insects.
The research team employed the use of high-speed synchrotron X-ray imaging to peer inside the beetles at 2000 frames per second. The spray created by the beetles are made by the mixing of two chemicals inside a protective chamber located in their abdomens.
The pulsing nature of the spray may help protect the structure of the beetle’s protective chamber, allowing time for the chamber walls to cool a bit before the next pulse reports MIT News.
The research was supported in part by the U.S. Army Research Office in hopes that understanding the beetles’ ability to withstand these intense internal explosions, may help in the development of blast protection systems. The reaction chamber, for example, possesses a rigid, reinforcing structure to minimize stretching and sustain temperature increases during an explosion, while other components allow for controlled, reversible stretching and movement to control the jet of fluid.
In other recent discoveries involving the animal kingdom, here at Immortal News, the Sichuan bush warbler was discovered in China by a multinational team of ornithologists.