Spray Aiming in Bombardier Beetles: Jet Deflection by the Coanda Effect

Science  01 Jan 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4528, pp. 83-85
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4528.83


Bombardier beetles of the carabid subfamily Paussinae have a pair of flanges, diagnostic for the group, that project outward from the sides of the body. Behind each flange is a gland opening, from which the beetles discharge a hot, quinone-containing secretion when disturbed. The flanges are curved and grooved and serve as launching guides for anteriorly aimed ejections of secretion. Jets of fluid, on emergence from the gland openings, follow the curvature of the flanges and are thereby bent sharply in their trajectory and directed forward. The phenomenon is illustrative of the Coanda effect, widely applicable in engineering and responsible for the familiar tendency of liquids to curve around spouts and down the front of containers when being poured.