Image of the Day: Beetle Escapes Toad’s Stomach

The bombardier beetle forced its devourer to vomit it out by releasing explosive, toxic chemicals.

Feb 8, 2018
The Scientist Staff, The Scientist Staff

A bombardier beetle, Pheropsophus jessoensis, escapes the belly of a toad, Bufo japonicus, by ejecting a hot chemical spray.SHINJI SUGIURA & TAKUYA SATO

Japanese researchers filmed a bombardier beetle being eaten by a toad—and then watched in amazement as it escaped over an hour later by releasing explosions of benzoquinone in the toad’s stomach. “The escape behavior surprised us,” study coauthor Shinji Sugiura, an agricultural scientist at Kobe University, tells The Guardian. “An explosion was audible inside several toads just after they swallowed the beetles.”

S. Sugiura, T. Sato, “Successful escape of bombardier beetles from predator digestive systems,” Biology Letters, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2017.0647, 2018.