It’s a bad idea for a toad to swallow a bombardier beetle | Science News

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It’s a bad idea for a toad to swallow a bombardier beetle

Even when swallowed, this insect can spray hurl-inducing hot chemicals from its rear

By
7:05pm, February 6, 2018
toad and bombardier beetle

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT  Toads can swallow all kinds of stuff but that yummy looking insect — a bombardier beetle — could be a surprising mistake.

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Toad versus bombardier beetle is almost a fair fight. Toads are hugely bigger, can tongue-strike in an eyeblink and swallow all kinds of nasty stuff. But bombardier beetles can shoot hot steam and noxious chemicals from their back ends.

In a lab face-off, 43 percent of Pheropsophus jessoensis bombardiers escaped alive after being swallowed by toads, a pair of researchers at Kobe University in Japan report February 7 in Biology Letters. These lucky beetles were vomited up — in one case, 107 minutes after being gulped — covered with goo, but still able to pull themselves together and walk away. Fifteen of the 16 beetles coughed up into daylight lived for at least 17 days, with one still going 562 days later.

Scalding internal beetle blasts proved vital in persuading the toads to spit the bugs up, ecologists Shinji

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