Defensive spray of the bombardier beetle: a biological pulse jet

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Science  08 Jun 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4960, pp. 1219-1221
DOI: 10.1126/science.2349480


The defensive spray of the bombardier beetle Stenaptinus insignis is ejected in quick pulses (at about 500 pulses per second) rather than as a continuous stream. The pulsation may be a consequence of intermittency in the explosive chemical process that generates the spray. The ejection system of the beetle shows basic similarity to the pulse jet propulsion mechanism of the German V-1 "buzz" bomb of World War II.

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