Could any creature evolve to breathe fire, like a dragon? © Getty Images

Could any creature evolve to breathe fire, like a dragon?

Asked by: Robyn Woodbridge, by email

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The closest equivalent is probably the Bombardier beetle (Brachinus species). These store hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide in separate chambers in their abdomens. When threatened, the beetle can squirt these chemicals into a reaction chamber where they mix with a catalytic enzyme to undergo a violent exothermic reaction, expelling a boiling puff of acrid gas and vapour.


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