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Bombardier beetle
Date Issued: 1999-10-01
Postage Value: 33 cents

Commemorative issue
Insects & spiders
Bombardier beetle

The bombardier beetle, like all members of the insect order Coleoptera, has two elytra (sheaths) over its wings, although the wings themselves are considered vestigial in the American species and rather useless for flying. To compensate for this inability to escape by flying away from predators, the beetle possesses a rather interesting apparatus for defending itself against predators. It gives off odors when disturbed and discharges a visible cloud from its rear that feels hot .Any place will do for a ground beetle to lay its eggs, so long as it's out of the way of most predators but not too far away from a good food source. Small underground tunnels or cracks in rotting wood are viable places, as are the decomposing remains of other living things (which quite often serve as the food source). The egg hatches into the larval stage, which begins taking in nourishment from the food source and occasionally molting. After it sheds its skin for the last time, it metamorphoses into a pupa, the stage at which the juvenile looks most like the adult which it will eventually become. At the end of the pupal stage, the pupa sheds its skin and a new adult bombardier beetle emerges. Ground beetles tend to live for several weeks, during which they have ample opportunity to mate and pass on their genes

 

Topic: Insects (54)  

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