Photos from the lab: Integument

The integument of an insect is its outer structure. It is what many people would call an exo-skeleton, or outside skeleton. I often imagine what we would look like with our bones on the outside… Whoops! Sorry. Entomology dreamer over here. Anyhow- enjoy these microscope images taken by yours truly!

image047           A micro image of the scales on a manduca moth wing. Scales are actually modified hairs that contain various pigments. These are particularly beautiful under the microscope.

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Our beautiful, recently deceased bumblebee. She was quite cute and very fuzzy, as you can see here.           image038

This image was supposed to demonstrate the difference between the tiny hairs (microtrichia) on the wing base (which are barely visible) compared to the regular hairs (called setae on insects) that cover most of the body. It didn’t do a good job of that, but I still think that the fuzzy bee is very beautiful close up.

image051           This is the moth’s eye. A few hairs were accidentally brushed onto her face, and she was still alive and kicking. She was not a fan of us combing through her delicate fur (seen in the last photo)

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When you view a moth under a microscope it honestly seems like they are just fluttery little air-dogs. Look at the setae on this thing! This moth was especially well pigmented.

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