Metrius contractus on a leaf feeding. Image taken by and used with permission from Sarah Crews.

Metrius contractus, Bombardier Beetle of Biochemical Brilliance

Arthropods lurk everywhere, no matter where you are. In fact, there is an estimated two million insects for each human alive on the planet (Agosta 1996). The conglomeration of arthropods in existence displays clear evolutionary success (Agosta 1996). Bombardier beetles in particular have developed quite a fascinating survival strategy through the use of chemical jMetrius contractus on a rock. Image taken by and used with permission from Alex Wild. ets at their posterior ends (Eisner et al. 1977). More specifically, Metrius contractus, a type of bombardier beetle, gives strong evidence as to the evolutionary development of these jets across different families of bombardier beetles (Eisner et al. 2000). The extraordinary chemistry and jet design found in these beetles has incredible applications industrially and medically (Beheshti and McIntosh 2008).  There is so much to learn from organisms like Metrius contractus.

View of Myrick Marsh from the bluffs of La Crosse, WI in late winter. Click to explore the city! Image taken by author, Sarah Lloyd.
The creation of this page is being made possible by the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, so be sure to check out all of the other things happening with the university. Each year Organismal Biology and Animal Biology students produce informative sites on a wide array of sensational organisms. The pages from every La Crosse student who has made a website of an organism over the years can be found at the Multiple Organisms Website. Could Metrius contractus survive the dry wintry weathers, adventurous bluffs, the vast marshlands, or the Mississippi River regions of La Crosse? Find out in Habitat and Geography or explore the city of La Crosse, WI.

 Start your exploration of Metrius contractus with Classification, and if at any point you find yourself boggled by the meaning of a word or phrase, refer to the Explanation of Terms Page. Many words that are rather uncommon in everday vernacular will link you directly to the terms page for a quick explanation.