Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beetle's Pressure-Spray System

Do you know that though less than an inch in length, the bombardier beetle is noted for its unique defense mechanism.When threatened, the insect spray boiling, foul smelling liquid and steam from its posterior, warding off spiders, birds and even frogs.

This beetle is equipped with "a pair of glands which open at the tip of its abdomen".Each of these has a reservoir that stores an acidic compound and hydrogen peroxide as well as a reaction chamber filled with enzymes dissolved in water.Noxious chemicals, water, and stream- at a temperature of about 212 degrees Fahrenheit- are sprayed onto an attacker.

Research led by Professor Andy Mcintosh of University of Leeds, have studied that bombardier beetle learn how to develop more effective and ecologically-sound mist systems.They have discovered that the beetle not only uses one-way inlet valves to allow chemicals into the reaction chambers but also has a pressure-relief valve to expel. them.