Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Horrifying Tuesday : Bombardier Beetle

It's that time of the week again, Horrifying Tuesday. Today, we're going to talk about the Bombardier Beetle, which definitely has one of the cleverest weapons of all times. Sure, there's insects with razor sharp claws and teeth, but what about creatures that can literally spit pain and agony at almost boiling point? Well lets welcome the Bombardier Beetle, one of the few creatures in the world that can shoot a mixture of death at 212 degrees Fahrenheit at only a fraction of a second.

Pictured: Recreated Simulation Of Bombardier Beetle

But how does this witchery work? Does the beetle carry around a squirt gun full of ominous fluids that mix together to form pure death in liquid form? How it works is actually somewhat simple. The beetle is able to produce hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide which is stored in two different reservoir. When the beetle feels threaten, it can force the separate fluids into a "reaction" chamber along with some catalysts which will allow oxidation to occur.

Yeah, you know. Basic science.

The reactions result in enough heat to bring the mixture to boiling point, which is hot enough to make a fifth of the mixture vaporizes along with excess gases. After enough pressure builds inside the beetle, it is expelled out of the tip of the abdomen of the beetle along with a popping sound. The beetle can do this so fast that it can potentially fire 500 shots every second, including "reloading". As you can see, he's a gun-slinging pro.

The damage caused by the mixture can be extremely fatal towards insect foes and small creatures. Humans however, will only succumb to minor pain. So if you were wondering, your face will not melt off.

"Then again, you never know when your face might melt off"

The beetle is basically equipped with a steam gun that shoots boiling water at enemies. To make things six times worst, specific species can shoot between their legs and turn in any direction, which allows them to fire at almost any direction with deadly accuracy. Even if the suspected predator survives the toxic concoction, the mere surprise of such awesome counter-attack will most likely scare any curious little boys away.

Thankfully, these beetles are nocturnal, meaning they don't come out during the day and are often found near muddy areas around lakes and river hiding around the branches and dead grass, awaiting it's next prey. So we probably won't have any problems with them anytime soon.

Until they taste delicious human flesh of course.