The Bombardier Beetle: Natures Bad `Ass`

Submitted by: canusuck 5 years ago Science

When provoked, this beetle spews hot acid from its butt, how"s that for evolution?
There are 37 comments:
Male 2,859
Hey, a bug that carries mace.
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Male 120
Yeah? Well Honey Badger doesn`t give a $#!%.
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Male 503
up till recently, they believed that it was simply a smelly cloud it excreted. they only recently realized it was both defensive and offensive.
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Female 2,674
Up next: Hippo gets explosive diarrhea.

Could not click the link fast enough (what is WRONG with me??)
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Male 2,790
awesome
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Male 1,569
Never pull that thing`s finger... Oh, luckily he hasn`t any
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Male 1,744
hot caustic liquid out of one`s anus
sounds like what happens to me after Taco Bell
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Male 220
i shoot the same thing on my face
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Female 385
[quote]Yaezakura beat me to it while I was typing. [/quote]
Well, to be fair, your contribution was far better constructed than mine, and the link to a source that explained the possible evolutionary path of the firing mechanism is more than I bothered with. So I may have been first, but I give the win to you, good sir.
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Male 12,138
Yaezakura beat me to it while I was typing.
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Male 12,138
We know relatively very little about beetle evolution, as they`re rarely preserved in the fossil record, except in very rare deposits of amber. Even then, the specimens are mostly disarticulated. However we do know that insects, with their short life-cycle, can evolve at extraordinary rates. These kinds of experiments are performed on flies every day, mostly in high-school science classrooms.

"God of the Gaps", I`m afraid. We just don`t know yet. But we can speculate.

I encourage you to read this article if you have the time.
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Male 12,138
Peabody, if I may:

[quote]@evanbartlett, Just how long did all that take?[/quote]
Millions of years. Possibly 10s of millions of years, maybe hundreds. We know beetles have been around much longer than that. Heck, we`ve got scientific proof. Imagine that!

[quote]If they needed this mechanism to survive, how did their ancestors survive without it? And if their ancestors could survive without it, why did they need to evolve it in the first place?[/quote]
They likely evolved this behaviour over time. It`s not like one day a beetle appeared that could squirt hot acid out its ass. They probably started out as being distasteful in their exoskelton, then were able to eject that distasteful substance (much like many species of ants do, in the form of formic acid), then adapted the formula further.
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Female 385
something new*.
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Female 385
[quote]Just how long did all that take?
If they needed this mechanism to survive, how did their ancestors survive without it? And if their ancestors could survive without it, why did they need to evolve it in the first place?[/quote]
Need is the wrong word. Evolution does not have a final plan it is working towards. It tries a million different things, and some of them happen to survive.

Much like how the evolution of the complex eye can be seen in various stages of living animals, it`s not hard to imagine how, over time, what probably was once a mechanism for releasing a foul tasting/smelling chemical would slowly change its composition based on diet and changes in the body to become more volatile. During this process, many beetles with malformed chambers probably did not survive, as many today with mutations that cause them to be malformed are not. Evolution isn`t "oh, here`s something brand new", but it`s the change of existing structures into something ne
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Male 1,920
@evanbartlett
Just how long did all that take?
If they needed this mechanism to survive, how did their ancestors survive without it? And if their ancestors could survive without it, why did they need to evolve it in the first place?
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Male 12,138
[quote]@simmerdown: An excellent example of irreducible complexity, indeed.[/quote]
Ah, ukulelemike, a Creationist/Intelligent Design proponent.

*Looks up profile*

Religion: Christian
Politics: Conservative
Favorite Book: The Bible, (KJV 1611)
Favorite Song: A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Ah yes, I think I see what`s happened here.
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Male 434
That`s pretty awesome. I wonder what it has to make it immune. It was getting sprayed too.
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Male 37,914

Big deal. I do the same thing after a curry.
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Male 2,788
Evolution? The beetle just had indian food for lunch and was using it to his advantage.
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Male 17
what a jerk. those ants weren`t doing anything to him.
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Male 299
That beetle needs yo lay off the spicy burritos...
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Male 559
There is very little in the way of nature demonstrating irreducible complexity. ID (not be be confused with its parent of the same acronym) is the same theory that has been used to describe the mammalian complex eye, even though it is easy to trace the evolution of every part of it.
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Male 559
SImmerdown:
Insects produce quinones for tanning their cuticle. Quinones make them distasteful, so the insects evolve to produce more of them and to produce other defensive chemicals.
The insects evolve depressions for storing quinones and muscles for ejecting them onto their surface when threatened with being eaten. The depression becomes a reservoir with secretory glands. This configuration exists in many beetles, including close relatives of bombardier beetles.
Hydrogen peroxide becomes mixed with the quinones. Catalases and peroxidases appear along the output passage of the reservoir, ensuring that more quinones appear in the exuded product.
More catalases and peroxidases are produced, generating oxygen and producing a foamy discharge, as in the bombardier beetle Metrius contractus.
As the output passage becomes a hardened reaction chamber, still more catalases and peroxidases are produced, gradually becoming today`s bombardier beetles.
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Male 25,416
wow... and this is nature. I want that power! :)
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Male 129
@simmerdown: An excellent example of irreducible complexity, indeed. And I believe there is a third chamber which inhibits the two chemicals from reacting together until clear of the beetle`s backside, so that`s three chambers, three chemicals, which, if evolved, would have kept blowing the poor li`l fellers up for millions of years until one got it right. Somehow I don`t see that it would be possible, since no one would be alive to breed.
I may be incorrect about the third chamber, but no time right now to check on it.
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Male 798
God, that thing has such a hot ass.
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Female 62
Awesome beetle, but probably not the best argument for evolution. o_O A science lecturer at my uni used to give conferences around the country on exactly why it was evidence against evolution, that is, that the two chambers which contain two seperate chemicals then mix to form the acid. This means that for the beetle to evolve it would`ve had to have developed both chambers fully at the same time so that the chemicals didn`t mix and kill it, and of course, develop both chemicals at the same time within those chambers to be effective. I`m not sure if that`s totally right, but it was something like that. Of course he didn`t teach any anti-evolution stuff at uni because e`d probably be sacked for it. I`m not trying to start a religious debate here, but I`d be interested to know the other side of the argument I`ve only heard the one for this beetle.
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Female 31
That`s clearly the Blast-ended Skrewt of the muggle world.
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Male 356
How didn`t it get hit too?
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Male 378
Dangg, he killed an ant.
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Male 3,430
Same thing happens to me after eating at Taco Bell.
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Male 2,700
Its living things like this that can prove that dragons MAY have existed, just kept blowing up.

Wonder if people could breath fire at one time?
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Male 300
Don`t bring a knife to a gun fight...
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Male 14,330
Me favorite bug!! Heard about this from my father when I was a little kid still impressive.
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Male 208
Whoa.
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Male 1,646
talk about fire hole.
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Male 808
Link: The Bombardier Beetle: Natures Bad `Ass` [Rate Link] - When provoked, this beetle spews hot acid from its butt, how`s that for evolution?
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