Britain's rarest beetle, the Single-spotted or Streaked Bombardier was re-discovered a
few years ago but is again in danger of extinction.
Like it's cousin, the Common Bombardier beetle, which is not at all common, and other bombardier species globally, when under attack by a predator it mixes two chemicals together and expels the resulting burning mixture from its body toward its predator's eyes with an explosive sound as the chemicals detonate.
The only known remaining site where the Single-spotted Bombardiers live was near the Thames Barrier and the overgrown wasteland site was to be re-developed for housing prior to the 2012 Olympic Games. Volunteers from London Wildlife Trust and Buglife, led by entomologist Richard Jones, were given a few days to relocate as many as possible to a new site nearby. On the chosen day, 1st October 2007, it poured with rain and the beetles stayed well below ground. We found only one.
A second attempt was made on 5th October, a gloriously sunny day. We relocated 60 Single-spotted Bombardiers and a similar number of other beetles since the Bombardier is known to use another beetle species as a host for its eggs but no-one knows which is the host species. So we relocated all the beetles we could find nearby to the new site. We hope they will thrive in their new home and not return to their old home to hibernate.