Galerita (Progaleritina) bicolor

False Bombardier Beetle

Galerita (Progaleritina) sp., False Bombardier Beetle


Family: Carabidae

Subfamily: Dryptinae

Tribe: Galeritini

Length: 17 - 22 mm


The common name refers to similar-looking Ground Beetles that defend themselves by ejecting a spray of hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, in a visible cloud and with an audible pop.

These Galerita beetles are not entirely "false" when it comes to bombing. Galerita ground beetles can also eject a chemical spray, in their case composed primarily of formic acid—the same compound used defensively by ants.

The easiest way to separate False Bombardier Beetles from "real" Bombardier Beetles is that the False Bombardier Beetles have a dark head.

An important trait of Galerita bicolor is a red spot on top of the head, best seen in the third photo on this page.

Photo data (photo at left): 10 April 1986 on Kodacolor negative film. Blenheim, Albemarle County, Virginia.

Photo data (middle photo)16 April 2005. These beetles were photographed aggregating in the crevice between two Sugar Maple trunks at Ruraldale, Upshur County, West Virginia.

Photo data (bottom photo): 16 May 2019, under bark on a fallen log. Ruraldale, West Virginia.