Animal Species:Bombardier Beetle

The Bombardier Beetle belongs to the ground beetle family (Carabidae), of which there are about 2,500 species in Australia.

Bombardier Beetle specimen

Andrew Donnelly © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Bombardier Beetle

Number of species

2,500

Size range

1.2 cm - 1.8 cm

Distribution

The Bombardier Beetle is found in eastern Australia.

Habitat

The Bombardier Beetle lives on undisturbed riverbanks and floodplains.

Feeding and Diet

Most Bombardier Beetles are carnivorous and hunt on the ground or in trees. The larvae feed on other insects.

Other behaviours and adaptations

When threatened, the Bombardier Beetle uses a special gland at its rear end to mix together two chemicals, resulting in an explosion with a loud popping noise. The noise alone is usually enough to startle a would-be predator and, if not, the accompanying sizzle of steam and spray of chemicals from the beetle's behind does the trick! The beetle produces temperatures of over 100 oC in the gland, which acts as a specialised, reinforced explosion chamber. Up to 80 explosions may be produced over a four-minute period.

Classification

Species:
verticalis
Genus:
Pheropsophus
Subfamily:
Brachininae
Family:
Carabidae
Superfamily:
Caraboidea
Suborder:
Adephaga
Order:
Coleoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags beetles, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,