Acanthoplus discoidalis

But there’s something really special about this insect.

To become unpalatable, the insects squirt toxic blood out of gaps in their body and make themselves sick by throwing up food they’ve just eaten.

Isn’t that neat-o?

(via Colin Hanbury)


  1. #1 JonD
    March 29, 2010

    Mission accomplished. I know I’m no longer hungry.

  2. #2 daswollff
    March 29, 2010

    Nature can be so inspiring sometimes…

    An intricate imagined predator prey relationship
    A play in one scene

    Pious Predator
    Philosophical Prey

    Scene 1

    A desert.

    Predator stumbles upon prey.

    Pious Predator: “Praised be the Lord for guiding me toward such a splendid and blessed meal!
    Haha you crunchy locust, say your prayers and prepare to meet your maker since it’s dinnertime!

    Philosophical Prey: Don’t eat me, I am the savior, your Lord made flesh!

    Pred: I don’t believe you.

    Prey: Wanna see?

    Prey starts bleeding vigorously.

    Pred: doubtful: It couldn’t be… Stigmata of the Lord?
    determined: That doesn’t prove anything! As a false prophet, raw and bloody as you are, repent. Then the allmighty Lord in all His glory may forgive you for the sins of you and your kind.

    Prey throws up.

    Prey: Indeed I am only a small sinner, as are we all. But see the Lord has stuck me and my (retches) kind with the curse of blood so poisonous, it even poisons ourselves.

    Pred: I see. A very logical explanation for your throwing up. And consistent with the scripture, with my vicious God. Then live with your curse mere sinner and repent!

    Pred off

    Prey to himself: What luck that I get sick when they say “kind”…

  3. #3
    March 29, 2010

    My wife does that when I’m feeling romantic. It never works, though. I think it’s sexy.

  4. #4 startlingmoniker
    March 29, 2010

    I’m a couple hundred pages into Dawkins’ “Ancestor’s Tale” right now… can’t wait to start meeting up with these guys! I gotta admit, it’s got me looking at animals in a different light. Like– “hi, cousin” LOL

  5. #5 phoenixwoman
    March 29, 2010

    Speaking of predators, prey and vomit-inducing situations:

    When Pope Benedict XVI was archbishop of Munich and Freising, he was broadly described as a theologian more concerned with doctrinal debates than personnel matters. That, say his defenders, helps explain why he did not keep close tabs on a pedophile priest sent to his archdiocese in 1980 and allowed to work in a parish.

    Yet in 1979, the year before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, approved the Rev. Peter Hullermann?s move to Munich, the cardinal blocked the assignment to the local university of a prominent theology professor recommended by the university senate. And in 1981, he punished a priest for holding a Mass at a peace demonstration, leading the man to ultimately leave the priesthood.


    As archbishop, Benedict expended more energy pursuing theological dissidents than sexual predators. Already in the early 1980s, one could catch a glimpse of a future pope preoccupied with combating any movement away from church tradition. Vatican experts say there is little evidence that Benedict spent much time investigating more than 200 cases of ?problem priests? in the diocese, with issues including alcohol abuse, adultery and, now under the microscope, pedophilia.

    Ratzi was the main guy behind JPII’s sustained attack on liberation-theology priests in Latin America and elsewhere. He went to great lengths to root them out, even as the church was using the excuse of the worldwide priest shortage to explain why pedo priests weren’t being kicked out of the priesthood. (Maybe if he hadn’t gone after good priests like Hans Küng and Jacques Gaillot, the priest shortage wouldn’t be so bad.)

  6. #6 daveau
    March 29, 2010

    I was so going to eat one until I found that out.

  7. #7
    March 29, 2010

    insects rule.

  8. #8 Egaeus
    March 29, 2010

    I personally like the “thick, acrid pancake of dead and moribund crickets…” quote myself.

  9. #9 ereador
    March 29, 2010

    They are, um, like, the vultures or komodo dragons of the insect world, like. The natural world is so gleefully disgusting, and I love it! (Who knows what I have eaten while drunk camping, sitting by the campfire in the dead of night.)

  10. #10 ereador
    March 29, 2010

    Also: JonD you got it!

  11. #11 Chris Hegarty
    March 29, 2010

    It doesn’t exactly look palatable in any sense, but I suppose that if I were starving I’d give it a whack. That is, until the whole “oozy toxic blood” shebang.

    Also, #5 gets it. Oh, and @#9: best phrasing ever: “The natural world is so gleefully disgusting”

    Chris Hegarty

  12. #12 brianjordan
    March 29, 2010

    Sounds like a good line of research for creationist Prof Andy McIntosh, when he’s finished with mimicking the bombadier beetle’s antics.

  13. #13 Bing
    March 29, 2010

    O sweet! They are blood squirting, vomiting cannibals!


  14. #14 whitebird
    March 29, 2010

    That is so effin’ metal!

  15. #15
    March 29, 2010

    So to avoid being eaten, it lies in its own waste.

  16. #16 Entomologista
    March 29, 2010

    This behavior is called reflex bleeding.

  17. #17 Brownian, OM
    March 29, 2010

    Pardon the link to the Daily Mail, but these photos of dew-kissed insects are sublime!

  18. #18 MadScientist
    March 29, 2010

    Nice cricket, but I like Jerry’s albino squirrel better.

  19. #19 Mrs Tilton
    March 29, 2010

    Brownian @17,

    wow, you’re not kidding. As an aspiring but rather crap macrophotographer, I am in awe. In fact, as I type these words I am kowtowing all Wayne & Garth-like, chanting We are not worthy!

  20. #20 llewelly
    March 29, 2010

    To become unpalatable, the insects squirt toxic blood out of gaps in their body and make themselves sick by throwing up food they’ve just eaten.

    If you’re quick you can crunch them up and swallow them before they accomplish this.

  21. #21 Red John
    March 29, 2010

    the insects squirt toxic blood out of gaps in their body

    Sounds like the first step on the path to the acid blood of the Aliens.

  22. #22 Mike in Ontario, NY
    March 29, 2010

    Now that would look great on my hearth!

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