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Genus Brachinus - Bombardier Beetle

Bombardier Beetle - Brachinus patruelis Brachinus sp. - Brachinus Brachinus? - Brachinus Brachinus cyanipennis Brachinus Oregon Brachininae - Brachinus Brachinus elongatulus? - Brachinus adustipennis? - Brachinus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Adephaga
Family Carabidae (Ground Beetles)
Subfamily Brachininae
Genus Brachinus (Bombardier Beetle)
Brachinus is derived from classical Greek βρᾰχύνω [ῡ] = brachyno or βρᾰχύς = brachys with the accent on long upsilon. Both Greek variations denote "shortness", a reference to the the beetle's shortened elytra. The classical pronunciation for Brachinus would sound closer to bră-KOO-nŭs than the American English convention of bră-KĪ-nŭs. The accented long upsilon best approaches the sound of German ü as in über or Müller. Mid-20th century authors DJ Borror and CT Brues offered BRĂK-ĭ-nŭs, but that would be further from the ancient Greek tongue.
References: Liddell & Scott's Classical Greek-English Lexicon; The Century Dictionary. [PWM note]
Explanation of Names
Brachinus Weber 1801
48 spp. in our area, all in the subg. Neobrachinus; ~360 spp. in 10 subgenera worldwide(1)
Canada 10 spp.(2), RI 12(3), FL 19(4)...
5‒13 mm
dark (blue, green, blackish) elytra contrast with orange head and pronotum; some are flightless(5)
revision of our fauna in(6) • key to the 16 SC spp. in(5)
worldwide (poorly represented in Australasia); throughout NA, much more diverse in the south (do not range north of 50N in the west and 45N in the east)(7)
under loose bark, rocks, boards, on ground in open at night; usually associated with floodplains, edges of temporary ponds
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.
Adults have chemical defenses, ejecting toxic, foul-smelling gases from their abdomen with a loud popping sound. The explosive brew is made of hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, and enzymes.
See Also