Connected on 2013-11-12 09:00:00 from Polk, Florida, United States
- Bugscope Team sample is pumping down
- Bugscope Team now we
- Bugscope Team are making the presets
- Bugscope Team good morning, Michelle!
- Teacher Good morning! Thanks again for having us!
- Bugscope Team Yay!
- Bugscope Team I am still making presets for you, so if you can hold off on driving for a few more minutes we'll have a bit more for you to image.
- Teacher No problem! Kids are still getting ready to go.
- Bugscope Team super cool
- Bugscope Team be right back
- Bugscope Team we are ready to roll
- Teacher Alrighty, I think we are too.
- Bugscope Team please let us know when you have questions about anything at all
- Bugscope Team this is a pollen grain -- they come in many forms -- on one of the honeybee's legs
- Bugscope Team you can use the controls to change the magnification if you want to see where you are, or if you want to image the pollen grain more closely
- Teacher Quinn would like to know what's holding the pollen onto the bee.
Bugscope Team pollen is often sticky in some way -- sometimes it has little spikes on it. in this case there may be some kind of fluid that comes out of those little pores that helps it stick
- Bugscope Team we are at a level of magnification at which we could see bacteria if there were any
- Bugscope Team bacteria -- the bacilli, or rod-shaped ones -- are about 2 microns long. a micron is the same as a micrometer; it is a thousandth of a millimeter and thus a millionth of a meter
- Bugscope Team we can see, on all insects, lots of setae -- what we call the things that look like hair
- Teacher What is the purpose of the setae?
- Bugscope Team because insects and comparable arthropods do not have skin with nerve endings in it -- instead they have a shell, or exoskeleton -- the setae stick through that shell and help them sense their surroundings
- Bugscope Team so the setae can be mechanosensory, chemosensory, thermosensory, and also proprioceptive, among other things
- Bugscope Team that is, they can help the insect feel touch or wind
- Teacher Oh! That's interesting. We didn't know that.
- Bugscope Team they can sense different chemicals by touch or in the air
- Bugscope Team they can feel hot and cold
- Bugscope Team and they can help the insect sense when its limb is extended, hyperextended, things like that
- Bugscope Team the very fine setae, called microsetae, do not have a sensory function
- Bugscope Team the microsetae can help hold onto the air, in a flying insect; they are likely responsible for thermoregulation; and they also form patterns, some of which can be seen only in UV
- Teacher So, similar function to cats' whiskers?
Bugscope Team yes the mechanosensory setae are like that exactly
- Bugscope Team here we can also see a moth or butterfly scale, to the lower left
- Bugscope Team scales are setae themselves
- Bugscope Team scales are where we see patterns of color in butterfly wings, and they are analogous to feathers; they also serve to protect their bearers from spider webs
- Bugscope Team this is one of the lower limbs of the honeybee; it may be the pollen basket, although we see little pollen
- Bugscope Team the abdomen is below, kind of the background
- Bugscope Team you are driving a scanning electron microscope from your home
- Teacher That's really amazing.
- Bugscope Team the images you are producing are in black and white, in grey scale, because we're using electrons rather than light to see
- Bugscope Team that is the stinger, which is a bit hard to make out
- Teacher We're talking about the notches on the stinger, and how it's barbed to hold a grip.
- Bugscope Team it is serrated, like a steak knife; when it cuts into your skin, the sides slide, side by side
- Bugscope Team honeybees can sting other insects repeatedly. it's when they sting mammals, with their thick skin, that the barbs you see get stuck
- Bugscope Team the setae are littered with scales from butterflies and moths
- Bugscope Team that is because they were collected and then stored in the same place
- Teacher How do the scales wind up in the setae?
- Bugscope Team scales come off easily. they're what appears to us as powder when we rub a butterfly's wing
- Bugscope Team that is how they protect moths, butterflies, mosquitoes, and silverfish from spider webs
- Teacher Are they shed, like human hair, as well?
Bugscope Team they are shed but they do not re-grow
- Bugscope Team scales can produce color in two ways: as pigmented color, like paint; and as structural color
- Teacher Quinn would like to know why bees have black and yellow stripes.
Bugscope Team I am not sure. It may be a warning coloration; it may be a kind of camouflage; it may also be a means of identifying the bee as a member of a certain species
- Bugscope Team it is also important for us to consider that the colors we see on insects are not necessarily the colors the insects see
- Teacher So perhaps like zebra stripes
Bugscope Team maybe, since they are often among flowers
- Bugscope Team this is a female housefly
- Bugscope Team its sponging mouthparts are in the middle of its head
- Bugscope Team we can tell males from females in flies, sometimes, because the eyes of the females are often far apart, whereas those of the males are often close together, and even touching
- Teacher Ainsley would like to know why the tongue looks hairy
Bugscope Team the tongue has lots of sensory setae on it as well -- for touch sensing and also for chemical sensing, which is the same as tasting
- Bugscope Team there are also palps near the tongue that help it taste its prospective food
- Bugscope Team this kind of fly sops its food up as a liquid
- Teacher What is the purpose behind the different setting of the eyes?
Bugscope Team I'm not sure why that would be; they likely see about the same, but the female may have some advantage in stereo vision
- Teacher Quinn says that he would like to know if flies have tastebuds on their feet.
Bugscope Team it is likely that some do, as we know some butterflies do
- Bugscope Team now we can see the individual ommatidia -- the facets of the compound eye
- Bugscope Team flying insects also, often, have three simple eyes on the tops of their heads, called ocelli
- Bugscope Team some large hornets can have as many as 30,000 ommatidia in one compound eye
- Teacher Ainsley would like to know if the compound eyes have pupils?
Bugscope Team I do not believe these have pupils, or not that we can see. it is interesting that we can see what appear to be single pupils inside compound eyes of praying mantises; it is like the compound eyes work together as one, more than they normally do
- Bugscope Team that is a bit limitation of the kind of imaging we are doing now, because many insects are partially transparent, so we can see inside them to some extent, but that is not true when we use the scanning electron microscope
- Bugscope Team 'bit of a limitation'
- Bugscope Team this is cool
- Bugscope Team craneflies look like giant clumsy mosquitoes
- Bugscope Team they do not bite. the adults are said to feed on nectar from flowers, or sometimes they do not eat at all
- Teacher Does the cranefly have a probiscus? Or is its mouth more like that of a regular housefly?
Bugscope Team it has a long proboscis, like a horse, but the way we see it here it is foreshortened
- Bugscope Team we can see that its antenna are intact at the bases but broken off further out
- Teacher What is the lifespan, if it doesn't eat?
Bugscope Team I am not sure, and certainly they vary. The females have mature eggs as soon as they metamorphose from larvae, so they can mate right away. the male is likely the one that does not eat, and it could thus live only a few days as an adult but still manage to breed.
- Bugscope Team with some insects, like mayflies, the male may live only a few hours as a flying adult
- Teacher Quinn would like to know if craneflies and humans have any similar DNA.
Bugscope Team I'm sure there are some small overlaps, but they have both evolved separately over millions f of years
- Bugscope Team insects have to do the same things we do, but they do many of those things a different way
- Bugscope Team here we can see that the aristate portion of the antennae on the left is still intact
- Teacher I'm curious - what are the barnicle appearing ovals in the background? Is it the mount for the microscope we're seeing?
Bugscope Team those are craters in the double-stick carbon tape we use to help hold the insects onto the stub, which is made of aluminum
- Teacher Ah, interesting, thank you. :)
- Bugscope Team you will also see smoother-appearing areas in which we have applied silver paint
- Bugscope Team many bees have setae on their eyes
- Bugscope Team fruitflies have little bristles between the ommatidia
- Teacher For preservation purposes?
Bugscope Team we coat them so they will be conductive, so the electron beam we are using to image the insects does not go into the cuticle and charge them up
- Bugscope Team that is, we want the electrons to go to ground
- Teacher Ainsley would like to know what the giant beaver-like teeth are.
Bugscope Team those protect the glossa, which is what the tongue is called
- Bugscope Team this is the underside of a spider, and we are looking at the fangs, pointed toward each other
- Bugscope Team spiders are softbodied, unlike insects, so unless we do something specific to preserve their form, they will shrivel up when they dry
- Teacher Quinn is very excited to check out these spider fangs. :)
Bugscope Team there are pores at the tips that the venom comes from; all spiders inject venom into their prey; the venom dissolves the internal organs, and the spider sucks all of that up like a milkshake, or a smoothie
- Bugscope Team spiders have lots of setae, many of which are sensitive to vibration
- Bugscope Team some spiders have what are called urticatign hairs
Bugscope Team oops urticating, which means itching
- Teacher Do they suck the liquid back up through the fangs? Or do they have another organ for that?
Bugscope Team the liquid goes back up through the fangs
- Bugscope Team spiders can also do this thing called autotomy, which means that if they sense the venom of another spider coursing into one of their legs, they can jettison that leg, just let it fall of
- Bugscope Team 'fall off'
- Teacher And what do the itching hairs do? Are those the ones sensitive to vibration?
Bugscope Team they can be projected at a mammal, for example, that is bothering the spider
- Bugscope Team those hairs can get caught in the surface of the eye, of the human eye, for example
- Bugscope Team these are mold spores; they resemble pollen
- Bugscope Team eventually, everything that is made of some kind of protein will rot, and mold spores are the first to arrive
- Bugscope Team they will produce fungal hyphae
- Bugscope Team sometimes we get insects that look fine to the eye, but in the electron microscope we see that they are covered with fungus
- Bugscope Team here we are looking at the cricket thorax
- Bugscope Team the legs are attached to the thorax
- Bugscope Team insects have six legs, a head, thorax, and abdomen, and two antennae
- Teacher How magnified will the microscope go? I know you said earlier that we can see to a bacterial level, but is that its furthest magnification?
- Bugscope Team when we are working with researchers, and they have very small particles, for example, we can take the magnification to 200,000x or a bit more and get publication quality images
- Teacher that's amazing.
- Bugscope Team we can magnify to 800,000x or so but the images are not going to be high quality
- Bugscope Team you can see that the ant has very few ommatidia in each compound eye
- Bugscope Team when we work with researchers, we set the microscope up so that the samples are much closer to the electron source. that gives us better resolution than we get now
- Bugscope Team that is some kind of dirt or goo on the eue
- Bugscope Team 'eye'
- Bugscope Team this is what the microscope looks like on the inside
- Teacher oh wow!
- Bugscope Team this is the vacuum chamber, and you can see a little platter in there with the bugs on it
- Bugscope Team the electrons come from the cone-shaped thing in the top of the chamber
- Teacher that's amazing.
- Bugscope Team the electrons hit the sample and knock what are called secondary electrons out of the conductive coating on the surface of the sample; they 2ndary electrons make up the signal that we see as images
- Teacher Quinn would like to know why the bugs need to be in a vacuum chamber.
Bugscope Team we would not be able to collect good images if the bugs were in room air, because the electrons would bump into air molecules
- Bugscope Team this is kind of cool -- a surprise
- Bugscope Team it is the coiled proboscis of the moth
- Bugscope Team moths and butterflies often have probosces like this that they coil up when they are not using
- Bugscope Team it has little ridges on it that help it hold onto a flower, for example
- Bugscope Team as it sucks up nectar
- Bugscope Team the proboscis comes apart so it can be cleaned
- Teacher Does the coiled up probiscus sit outside of the moth's mouth when it is not in use?
Bugscope Team yes it is always outside of the head
- Bugscope Team see how weird it is? it looks like it's coming out of the side of the head
- Bugscope Team its base is covered up by the palps, on either side of it, that are in turn covered with scales
- Bugscope Team you can see the compound eyes, as well
- Bugscope Team when the moth wants to extend its proboscis, it forces hemolymph into it like a New Year's noisemaker
- Teacher That's really bizarre looking. I always thought that the probiscus was stored inside the head. Learned something new!
Bugscope Team we learn new stuff all of the time, really cool
- Teacher I know we're about out of time, and want to thank you both so much for having us. The kids and I have learned so much.
- Bugscope Team thank you for working with us today!
- Bugscope Team this is fun for us
- Bugscope Team https://bugscope.beckman.illinois.edu/members/2013-072
- Bugscope Team most of the images and most of the chat will be available at the link below
- Bugscope Team http://bugscope.beckman.illinois.edu/members/2013-072
- Bugscope Team there it is without the s
- Teacher Thank you both again, and have a wonderful rest of your day. Love from Florida!
- Bugscope Team Sweet! You too! Bye!
- Bugscope Team shutting down...