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Genus Brachinus - Bombardier Beetle

Desert Bombadier Beetle - Brachinus Swarming beetle - Brachinus Bombadier Beetle - Brachinus lateralis Lebia spp? - Brachinus Brachinus - Brachinus adustipennis Bombardier Beetle - Brachinus favicollis Brachinus Bombadier Beetle - Brachinus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Adephaga (Ground and Water Beetles)
Family Carabidae (Ground Beetles)
Subfamily Brachininae
Genus Brachinus (Bombardier Beetle)
Explanation of Names
Brachinus Weber 1801
Greek brachy (βραχυς) 'short' (refers to truncate elytra)
Numbers
48 spp. in our area, all in the subg. Neobrachinus; >300 spp. in 8 subgenera worldwide(1)
Canada 10 spp.(2), RI 12(3), FL 19(4)...
Size
5-13 mm
Identification
Medium-sized beetles with dark (blue, green, or blackish) elytra that contrast strongly with orange head and pronotum; some are flightless(5).
revision of N. Amer. spp. in Erwin (1970) (6)
key to the 16 SC spp. in Ciegler (2000) (5)
Range
throughout N. Amer., much more diverse in the south (do not range north of 50N in the west and 45N in the east) (1) (worldwide thought poorly represented in Australasia)
Habitat
under loose bark, rocks, boards, on ground in open at night; usually associated with floodplains, edges of temporary ponds
Food
larvae are parasitoids of aquatic beetle pupae and scavenge body of host after its death
Life Cycle
Eggs laid singly in mud cells made on plants, rocks. Larvae have reduced legs and pupate inside the host.
Remarks
Adults have chemical defenses, ejecting toxic, foul-smelling gases from their abdomen with a loud popping sound. The explosive brew is composed of hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, and catalytic enzymes.
See Also