Have you ever heard the term, “the best offense is a good defense?” There are a few insects that take this idea to the extreme. When you are an insect, one of your greatest concerns is becoming another creature’s lunch. Insects have to worry about birds, reptiles, mammals, and other insects. Here are three incredible insects with amazing defenses that might leave you wondering what Mother Nature was thinking.
Don’t play in this foam
If you like taking bubble baths and watching the foam bubble up from the running water, you might want to stay away from this bug. The Koppie Foam Grasshopper is found in South Africa and spends it time eating toxic plants like milkweed. When a predator gets too close the Foam Grasshopper pushes toxic foam out from special glands on its thorax. The foam is poisonous and bubbles out to cover much of the grasshopper. Most predators will decide to find something less toxic to eat. There have been cases where dogs have eaten the grasshopper and died. You can identify the Koppie Foam grasshopper by its distinct black coloring with red lines.
Three, Two, One, Blast Ant!
Blast Ants have taken an entirely different approach to protecting their home and resources. The primary weapon of ants is their large mandibles. The Blast ant is no exception; it will defend the hive or discovered food with its large mandibles. Unlike other ants, the blast ant has a secret weapon. Blast ants are the insect world equivalent of suicide bombers. If things go badly, and mandibles are not effective on the defense, a Blast ant can squeeze its abdominal muscles and explode. The explosion sends out a spray of sticky, irritating liquid that sends opponents fleeing. Since the Blast ant is part of a large society, the occasional detonation to protect resources or the hive is an acceptable loss. The queen can simply make more Blast ants.
If you see a happy reddish brown beetle with black legs, you might want to leave it alone. The bombardier does not plat well with other insects. If it feels threatened, it is ready to unleash destruction. The bombardier beetle is a master chemist. Within the bombardier beetles backside, there are two chambers which contain hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone. When it mixes the contents together and adds in a few catalysts, the recipe is ready. The resulting mixture sprays out of the bombardier beetle at a whopping temperature of 100 degrees Celsius, which is the temperature where water boils. The spray can kill other insects, spiders and even burn your skin. The bombardier beetle can aim its backside and hit any threatening target. The bombardier beetle is a master chemist and sharpshooter rolled into one little insect.
From toxic foam, ant explosions and boiling bum spray, these insects know how to defend against any threat. When you live in the wild world of insects, the best offense is your best defense.