Meet Our Team:
Dr. Tanya Renner (San Diego State University)
Dr. Kipling Will (University of California, Berkeley)
Dr. Aman Gill (University of California, Berkeley)
Dr. Athula Attygalle (Stevens Institute of Technology)
Dr. Wendy Moore (University of Arizona)
Reilly McManus (University of Arizona, graduate student)
Dr. Thomas Eisner (in memoriam, 1929 – 2011)
Movie credit: Eric Keller copyright 2017
Bombardier beetles are among the world’s most impressive chemists. Unlike pheromones used for communication, their genetic machinery provides for biochemical warfare. They repel predators with rapid-fire, precisely-aimed explosive discharges of a toxic chemical mix at over 100°C, earning them lead roles in media and culture.
Bombardier beetles produce defensive chemicals with a glandular system located in their abdomens. That part of the story is not unique to them. In fact, all 40,000 members of the beetle suborder Adephaga have a similar gland system that evolved in their common ancestor over 150 million years ago.
The glands of bombardier are unique in that their gland system consists of two chambers, which allows them to explosively discharge. Learn more by watching the videos below.
This video was made by PBS about our current project.
This video was made by MIT and features Dr. Eric Arndt (the a graduate student at MIT) explaining some of our past research.
This very fun animated video on the bombardier beetle was made by Eric Keller.