A study published this Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters revealed that a beetle bug, P. jessoensis, has a disgusting protection mechanism.
Scientists were surprised when they observed that a toad that swallowed a beetle bug vomited it 45 minutes after ingestion and that the bug was just fine. They’ve started to study how is this possible.
The result amazed the researchers
It has been discovered that the beetle bug has a very hard shell that acts as a shield against the digestive acids in the stomachs of the predators which can eat the bug.
Even more, when ingested by the predators, the beetle bug is spraying a chemical mix from its butt. The scientists found that this chemical mix has 212 degrees when it is spat and it is toxic. The chemical mix has the purpose to make the predator vomit. And so, the beetle will be freed.
The beetle bug can also spray the hot chemical mix when it is in danger in order to keep possible predators away, according to the scientists.
This is how the beetle protection mechanism works
This type of beetle, popularly known as the “Bombardier” beetle (or bug), presents 2 glands in its abdomen, each being involved in the production of specific chemicals when the beetle is in danger.
Once the chemicals have been produced, they will be mixed up in the beetle’s “combustion tube” from which the mixture will be spit through the butt. Being under pressure in the “combustion tube” the chemicals heat up and will be eliminated at 212 degrees with a small flame in what it looks and sounds like an explosion.
Scientists observed how the beetle protection mechanism works in 16 tests. The researchers used toads which they fed with one beetle bug each. The toads vomited the ingested bugs within 12 to 107 minutes.
Only one bug lived for 18 months after the testings, while the rest of them only lasted for a couple of weeks. Additionally, the way the beetle protection mechanism works has only affected the toads in the short-term as the toads are still living and they are healthy.