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Bombardier Beetle with Defense Mechanism a Gatling gun spray

At Any occasion this insect feels in danger, it can consciously release steams from its rear. The horrible-smelling liquid is in tandem with ‘gun smoke’. According to MIT Doctoral student Eric And, this protection mechanism is a extraordinarily effective defense.  This fluid ejection makes the insect invincible to most creatures; Vertebrates, and invertebrates, as well instinctively fear this little beetle. Few predators have a counter attack to this Gatling Gun Beatle.

As and when Bombardier beetle threatened releases a bang of a fluid Gatling Gunthe insect feels threatened, it can repeatedly discharge steams from its rear. The foul-smelling liquid is accompanied with ‘gun smoke’. According to MIT graduate student Eric Andt, this defense mechanism is highly effective. He also added that this makes the insect invincible to most animals, both invertebrates, and vertebrates. However, a few predators may have specialized countermeasure against the spray.

Efforts have been exerted by the researchers from MIT, University of Arizona, and Brookhaven National Laboratory and currently they have uncovered the mystery behind the defense mechanism of the Bombardier beetle. It turns out that this small insect, which measures only about half an inch, is more intelligent than any could have thought.

A specialized ultra-fast photography was utilized in order to record the exact happenings while the insect ejects the fluid during explosion. A number of dissections of individuals from this species were also used to corroborate with the data gathered.

The beetle’s defense agent is fairly common to most insect however, Bombardier beetle take this to a step further. It is capable to synthesize the chemical during the instant when it is to be used by mixing two key chemicals in their hindquarter’s protective chamber. Intense heat which brings the fluid almost to its boiling point is given off. In the process, the high pressure needed to discharge it is also developed.

During the research, it was found out that the insect releases a series of explosions. This disproved the belief that the beetle ejects only one explosion, concluded by the sound which seemed to describe a single blow. Although, the explosions are really fast that it is quite hard to notice them separately. It is thought that the insect smartly produces lots of small explosions because it doesn’t have enough energy to produce a huge one.

The dissections uncovered that the insect possesses two storage glands which carry the explosive substance. It was also noted that the beetle may be protected against its own great acrimony by an explosive chamber that has special layers. Additionally, the fluctuating nature of spray also permits the walls of the chamber to cool down just as the next pulse begins.


About Tony D. Booth

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