Saturday, June 11, 2011
False Bombardier Beetle
Bombardier beetles have a unique defense mechanism; they can spray acid at their potential predator. False bombardier beetles do not have the same chemical defense as real bombardier beetles, but they are not without resources....they can spray "formic acid" from their backside which is exactly what many species of ants use as their defense....and believe me it is a formidable chemical to have sprayed at you. It effectively "burns" the skin and causes irritation that can last for hours depending upon your own bodies reaction to the chemical. The best way to differentiate between "real" and "false" bombardier beetles is that real ones have a red head as well as a red thorax, whereas false ones have a black head. I cannot say that I have seen a real one, since each specimen I find has the black head.
Finding these beetles is easy, simply turning over logs in the timber will almost always yield at least one, and often times several of these beautifully marked beetles....remember though....look but don't touch!