Point out to students the picture of the "bombardier beetle," and read out loud the "DID YOU KNOW??" information at the bottom of the page.
To protect itself from enemies, a Bombardier Beetle shoots out a hot, poisonous liquid with a loud POP!
There exist several different types of bombardier beetles, which employ somewhat different types of defensive structures and chemistry but generally the same method of defense--spraying at predators when threatened and then running away.
However, bombardier beetles are able to discharge their spray in as little as 90 milliseconds when sufficiently provoked, thus evading capture by toads (Dean et al.
Forsyth (1972) describes the spray nozzle as a "gaping aperture," at the ninth tergite (a plate of abdominal cuticle), or as a "short membranous tube" in different species of bombardier beetles. The results of the present study show that this structure is far from merely a short membranous tube or gaping aperture.
Biochemistry at 100[degrees] C: explosive secretory discharge of bombardier beetles (Brachinus).
Thermal concomitants and biochemistry of the explosive discharge mechanism of some little known bombardier beetles. Experientia 39: 366-368.
Encounters Between Bombardier Beetles and Two Species of Toads (Bufo americanus, Bufo marinus): Speed of Spray Capture Does not Determine Success.
Chemistry of defensive secretions of bombardier beetles (Brachanini, Metriini, Ozaenini, Paussini).