Status: Not Listed
More than 40 species of bombardier beetles are found in the United States. Each has blue elytra (wing coverings) and a reddish head and limbs. They are considered remarkable because of their ability to shoot a boiling, corrosive substance at predators. An important feature of these beetles is the presence of two chambers within their abdomen that keep the critical reactants apart until they are ready to be discharged. When the beetle feels threatened, the contents of these two chambers are combined and fired through the abdominal tip. The abdominal tip through which their defensive chemical is sprayed can be rotated 270 degrees so they can more easily fire at predators. These beetles tend to be very small in size, usually growing to be less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) long.
Bombardier beetles can be found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. They thrive in temperate woodlands and grasslands where there is ground cover for them to hide under.
Bombardier beetles mostly eat small insects.
Eggs are laid underground, in decaying plant matter, animal carcasses, or anywhere else that is convenient and away from predators. The newly hatched beetle must undergo several molts before it reaches maturity. Bombardier beetles probably live for several weeks.
The bombardier beetles' populations are thought to be stable.
Without the two abdominal chambers to keep the beetles' corrosive chemicals separate, the beetles would not survive.
Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
Evans, A. V. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.: New York, NY 2007.
Place your order today for the themed box that delivers everything you need to create family memories while discovering nature and wildlife.Read More
A new report illustrates how congressional inaction threatens sportsmen, wildlife, and communities.Read More
Showcase the impact of habitat gardens! Submit your photographs now through October 12.Read More
Methane is one of the primary components of natural gas, and a superpollutant that threatens wildlife by speeding up the pace of climate change.Read More
You don't have to travel far to join us for an event. Attend an upcoming event with one of our regional centers or affiliates.