Browse Search Feedback Other Links Home Home The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
Previous Claim: CB310   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB311

Claim CB310.1:

The bombardier beetle would explode if the hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone that produce their ejecta were mixed without a chemical inhibitor. Such a combination of chemicals could not have evolved.


Gish, Duane T., 1977. Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards. El Cajon, CA: Master Book, pp. 51-52.
Hitching, Francis, 1982. The Neck of the Giraffe, New York: Meridian, p. 68.
AIG, 1990. The amazing bombardier beetle. Creation Ex Nihilo 12(1): 29.


  1. That description of bombardier beetles' physiology is inaccurate. It is based on a sloppy translation of a 1961 German article by Schildknecht and Holoubek (Kofahl 1981). Hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone do not explode when mixed (Dawkins 1986, 86-87). What actually happens is this: Secretory cells produce a mixture of hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide (and perhaps other chemicals), which collects in a reservoir. To produce the blast, the beetle releases some of this mixture into a reaction chamber, where catalases and peroxidases cause the mixture to oxidize in chemical reactions that generate enough heat to vaporize about a fifth of the mixture. The pressure of the released gasses causes the heated mixture to be expelled explosively from the beetle's abdomen (Aneshansley and Eisner 1969; Aneshansley et al. 1983; Eisner et al. 1989).

  2. There is no reason to consider the evolution of bombardier beetles implausible. See Bombardier Beetle Evolution.

  3. The bombardier beetle is often used as an example of evidence for design. How can such arguments be taken seriously when the people making them do not even know how their example works?


Isaak, Mark, 1997. Bombardier beetles and the argument of design.


  1. Aneshansley, D. J. and T. Eisner, 1969. Biochemistry at 100C: explosive secretory discharge of bombardier beetles (Brachinus). Science 165: 61-63.
  2. Aneshansley, D. J., T. H. Jones, D. Alsop, J. Meinwald, and T. Eisner, 1983. Thermal concomitants and biochemistry of the explosive discharge mechanism of some little known bombardier beetles. Experientia 39: 366-368.
  3. Dawkins, Richard, 1986. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: Norton.
  4. Eisner, T. et al., 1989. Chemical defense of an Ozaenine bombardier beetle from New Guinea. Psyche 96: 153-160.
  5. Kofahl, Robert E., 1981. The bombardier beetle shoots back. Creation/Evolution 2(3): 12-14.

Further Reading:

Weber, C. G., 1981. The bombardier beetle myth exploded. Creation/Evolution 2(1): 1-5.

See for Yourself:

Hydroquinone is available from photography shops and hydrogen peroxide from supermarkets and drug stores. You can mix them yourself to see that they do not explode.
Previous Claim: CB310   |   List of Claims   |   Next Claim: CB311

created 2001-2-17