Connected on 2011-05-10 08:00:00 from Westchester, New York, United States
- Bugscope Team good morning!
- Bugscope Team Welcome to Bugscope!
- Bugscope Team Sample is being coated and I'll put it in the 'scope soon.
- Bugscope Team bad news is the painted lady chrysalises never got dry inside, so we could not use them.
- Bugscope Team but we have two mealworm pupae, a darkling beetle, a spider, one or two wasps (I cannot tell if one is a fly or fly mimic, yet), some assassin bugs, and a backswimmer
- Bugscope Team now you can see that the sample is pumping down in the specimen chamber
- Bugscope Team even the pupae were quite juicy, so I chose the ones that were most dry
- Bugscope Team now we are waiting for the vacuum to get better so we can turn on the electron beam
- Bugscope Team vacuum is getting closer...
- Bugscope Team can you see the chat?
- Bugscope Team it looks like everyone is logged in as a Teacher
- Bugscope Team hello!
- Bugscope Team I see that there was no Student choice...
- Bugscope Team is anyone there?
- Bugscope Team good morning, Linda!
- Bugscope Team can you see the chat?
- Teacher Good morning.
- Teacher Yes we can.
- Bugscope Team we are now ready to roll
- Teacher What will we look at first?
- Bugscope Team I am sorry, however, we were not able to use the chrysalises
- Bugscope Team you can control the microscope and take it to whichever preset we have prepared for you that looks good to you
- Teacher What kind of beetle is this?
- Teacher Why are the pictures only showing up in black and white?
Bugscope Team these are live images from the electron microscope, which uses electrons rather than light to collect images
- Bugscope Team this is what happens when the mealworms turn into pupae and then become adults
- Bugscope Team the electrons that bounce back from the surface of the sample come to the detector as signal -- so there is no color
- Teacher how long does it take for a mealworm to turn into a beetle
Bugscope Team it can take as few as 30 days
- Bugscope Team the timing of the full metamorphosis depends on environmental factors, in large part. it can go fast or slow
- Teacher do all mealworms shed their skin?
Bugscope Team they go through a series of molts, and they shed their cuticle each time
- Bugscope Team I read that they can go through perhaps 9 to 20 molts before they become pupae, which is the stage before this
- Bugscope Team now we are looking at the antenna base, to the left, and one of the palps, in the middle
- Bugscope Team the antennae collect all manner of scents that the beetle uses to sense its environment, in addition to its eyes and its sense of vibration (sound)
- Teacher what is a palp?
Bugscope Team usually there are four palps, two mandibular and two maxillary, and they help the insect taste and manipulate its food into its mouth
- Bugscope Team the palps have sensory structures on them as well, many related to 'tasting' -- determining if they want to eat what they are touching
- Bugscope Team they are kind of like tastebuds, or little tongues outside of the mouth, in a way
- Bugscope Team please feel free to click on any of the presets to look around what is on today's stub
- Bugscope Team you can see one of the beetle's claws to the left, there
- Bugscope Team you centered nicely on the claw
- Bugscope Team this is one of the two pupae we could put in the 'scope
- Teacher what is the magnification?
- Bugscope Team so this is the stage after the mealworm has decided to go ahead and turn into an adult
- Bugscope Team this is only 44x at the 'scope
- Bugscope Team the mealworm can be a pupa from 3 to 30 days
- Bugscope Team while it is a pupa it is becoming a beetle inside
- Teacher what are the parts that look like petals
Bugscope Team those are the pre-legs; the legs of the beetle are forming inside
- Bugscope Team the mealworms we see at stores are kept in that larval stage abnormally long
- Teacher how do the pre-legs transform into legs
Bugscope Team what is happening inside is that genes have been activated that cause the body to change and grow into a new form
- Bugscope Team the pupa looks less and less wormlike as the beetle forms inside its case
- Bugscope Team mealworms go from eggs to the caterpillar like things we see most commonly to this form, the pupa, which is comparable to a chrysalis, to the beetle
- Teacher where are the eyes
Bugscope Team I don't believe they have eyes at all at this stage. They may be able to sense light, and heat, and they can sense if you touch them
- Bugscope Team this is a vulnerable stage for the mealworm/beetle
- Teacher how do they breathe?
Bugscope Team if we were to drive around a bit we might find tiny pores called spiracles that insects use to breathe through
- Bugscope Team insects do not have lungs like we do; they have what we consider a more primitive way of getting oxygen to their organs
- Bugscope Team and we are lucky they are not more efficient at breathing, because if they were they would become larger
- Teacher where is the mouth?
Bugscope Team there is not really a mouth at this stage; it is forming inside the pupal case
- Teacher do they breathe in the same way when they are adults
Bugscope Team yes they have spiracles; we can go look for them on the beetle since we did not see any on the pupa -- often they are on the sides of the body
- Bugscope Team on some insects the spiracles are readily apparent, but not here...
- Teacher what do you suggest we look at now
- Bugscope Team insects can open and close the spiracles, like holding their breath, and they do that as well to ensure that they do not dry out; they need to conserve water inside of the their shell
- Bugscope Team let's go to a fly and see if we can find spiracles
- Bugscope Team this is very close on the fly's claw --- 2300x. and we are looking at the tiny hairs called tenent setae that help them stick to surfaces
- Bugscope Team you can see two scales from another insect, and a pollen grain
- Bugscope Team this is one of the spiracles on the thorax -- the 'chest'
- Teacher what do flies eat
Bugscope Team many flies eat sweet liquids, and they may spit up on their food to dissolve and predigest it before sucking it up
- Bugscope Team some flies, however, have slashing/cutting mouthparts (like horseflies and deerflies), and they can cut your skin so you bleed, and then drink that
- Teacher how many different types of flies are there
Bugscope Team there are thousands of species, and not all have been found and named
- Teacher can we see the fly's eye
- Bugscope Team there are said to be about 6500 species of fly
- Bugscope Team flies have two wings, whereas wasps and bees have four
- Bugscope Team this is one of the compound eyes of the fly we had just looked at
- Bugscope Team it is dried and caved in a bit
- Teacher what are the little round parts
- Bugscope Team each individual facet of the eye, called an ommatidium, is a lens
- Bugscope Team so the round parts are like tiny eyes themselves
- Bugscope Team if you had compound eyes you would have better peripheral vision -- you would be able to see more without moving your head
- Bugscope Team insects can't move their eyes around like us so they help make up for that by having these bulging eyes that stick out and can see all around them
- Bugscope Team it would be very hard to get sunglasses
- Bugscope Team but you would also have an advantage in being able to register changes in your visual field very quickly
- Bugscope Team it is important, especially, in the insect world, to be able to see and respond quite quickly, so you do not get swatted, or eaten
- Bugscope Team one of the things that might eat you is an ambush bug, or an assassin bug
- Bugscope Team if you landed on the branch of a tree or a bush to rest, you might not notice an ambush bug quite close but disguised as a leaf
- Bugscope Team they can bite you and it will hurt some, but they don't have any venom
- Teacher what are ambush bugs
Bugscope Team they are 'true bugs' that sneak up on other insects, pierce their bodies, and suck out the juice
- Bugscope Team this is the head of a tiny leaf-mimicking ambush bug
- Bugscope Team see its eyes, and the piercing mouthpart in the center of its head?
- Teacher what are all those bumps
Bugscope Team the bumps are part of its disguise -- they distract the fly or other insect and keep it from recognizing the shape of the head, and the eyes
- Bugscope Team this is the tip of the proboscis, which is short and powerful
- Teacher can they change colors
Bugscope Team these particular ones are multicolored, in yellows and browns
- Bugscope Team I am not sure if they change colors or not
- Bugscope Team they come in different colors, but they aren;t chameleon like
- Teacher where do they live
Bugscope Team they live all over, but particularly in plants where they can find insects to eat
- Bugscope Team they often are around plants that best suit their coloring to help them blend in
- Bugscope Team see the pollen grain next to the proboscis?
- Bugscope Team this is one of the forearms
- Bugscope Team it's hard to see from here how it works, but it is like the forearms of a praying mantis
- Teacher do insects that go through metamorphisis change their dna
Bugscope Team their dna does not change, but different genes in the dna they have are activated
- Bugscope Team now we can see the forearms from the side
- Bugscope Team they extend and then close down to grip their prey firmly while they pierce them with their proboscis
- Teacher we're logging out in this classroom and will log back in at ten o'clock in another classroom. thank you
Bugscope Team cool see you soon!
- Guest My students wanted to know what the long things are? also what is the pointy thing we are looking at now?
Bugscope Team H2 are you still there? I am sorry I missed seeing your query
- Guest yes, it is okay we passed the picture a while back. We will wait for the other class to come back. What are we looking at now?
- Bugscope Team this is a spider our secretary brought in
- Bugscope Team you can see its fangs, kind of scary looking
- Guest What kind of spider is this?
Bugscope Team we did not recognize it, I am sorry -- it was red
- Bugscope Team it was red before we coated it with gold-palladium so we could image it using the electron microscope
- Guest Still very neat
Bugscope Team now I think we are back where we were when you asked about the long things. is this the place?
- Bugscope Team insects tend to have hairs all over them to help them feel things through their tough exoskeleton. They don't have sensitive skin like we do
- Guest Yes, it was at the tip of the tubual thing in the middle there are long things possibly hairs on the tip?
Bugscope Team so that is the proboscis; we do not get to the see the sharp part that is inside that pierces the insect prey
- Bugscope Team as Cate says, insects often have lots of sensory setae, which look like hairs to us, and even the entomologists call them hairs
- Bugscope Team there are mechanosensory (touch sensitive), chemosensory (scent, or smell-sensitive), and thermosensory (hot/cold sensing) setae, as well as setae that are adapted to stick to things
- Guest My students are wondering about the thing on the right side of teh screen. Is that part of the forearm?
- Bugscope Team yes that is one of the forearms, which are thick and powerful. you can see now that that the smaller part with the claw on the end is relatively small
- Teacher Hi, Daniel Warren first graders are back.
Bugscope Team Cool! Welcome back!
- Bugscope Team this is one of the other mealworm pupae
- Bugscope Team this is the shell the beetle hatched from after it metamorphosed
- Bugscope Team they are segmented like our joints are segmented so that they can bend their legs or abdomen and move around
- Teacher Why does it have some layers?
- Teacher What part of the pupae are we looking at?
Bugscope Team this is the head
Bugscope Team that is the head
- Bugscope Team that pupa is older, and I am not sure if the beetle died inside or if it hatched out of the back
- Teacher Why does it look like some parts are cracked?
Bugscope Team as the pupa gets older and the beetle matures inside, it becomes thinner and more fragile
- Guest What are teh pointy things coming from the mouth area?
Bugscope Team those are the palps, I believe -- the accessory mouthparts
- Bugscope Team inside is where everything is going on
- Bugscope Team the pupa is very vulnerable at this stage; it has to be very still while it is developing so it does not get eaten
- Teacher Do we see evidence of the antennas or feelers?
Bugscope Team those longer parts we see may be the antennae, developing inside the pupal case
- Bugscope Team the pupa changes on the outside as the beetle takes shape within
- Teacher is there any evidence of the color?
Bugscope Team in the sem we are imaging with electrons not light, so we are reading a signal instead of lightwaves. We can false color after the picture is taken with some effort, but black and white is what we get with sem imaging.
- Bugscope Team it is true that the pupa darkens as it becomes more mature; it starts out white and then turns more yellow
- Bugscope Team this one was yellowish, starting to become amber
- Teacher what is the color of the insect we are looking at?
Bugscope Team when they first pupate they are white and more worm-shaped
Bugscope Team this is a little further along and was yellowish
- Bugscope Team please tell your students we are sorry not to have been able to use the painted lady chrysalises
- Bugscope Team much like this pupal mealworm, the chrysalis must retain water, and it does not dry easily
- Teacher can we please see a sideways view
Bugscope Team we can only see them the way we mounted them in. it is slightly possible to see the side view but then all placements of the other presets would be moved as well
- Teacher okay
- Bugscope Team I had mounted one on its side, but it was one of the soft ones, very juicy, and I was afraid it would not pump down in the vacuum chamber
- Bugscope Team all of the samples we are looking at are under vacuum, and we have coated them with several nanometers of gold-palladium as well as stuck them to the stub with carbon tape and silver paint
- Teacher what type of beetle does the mealworm pupae turn into
Bugscope Team the beetle we were looking at just before this was one of them
- Bugscope Team the beetle is called a 'darkling beetle'
- Teacher how long does it take to turn into a darkling beetle
- Teacher how long does it take to mount a sample, or how much work
Bugscope Team if the samples are dry it is fairly easy to make a whole sample in 15 or 20 minutes
- Teacher why does it look like it has ears off to the side?
Bugscope Team it seems like it acts as an armor plating to help protect its head.
- Guest How long does it take a mealworm to turn in to a darkling beetle
Bugscope Team it varies. the mealworm can go through a number of molts (one source says 9 to 20) before it becomes a pupa, and it can be a pupa from 3 to 6 to perhaps 30 days before it hatches into a beetle.
- Bugscope Team coating the sample with gold-palladium takes about 10 or so minutes, and it takes 4 or 5 minutes for a dry sample to pump down inside the vacuum chamber
- Bugscope Team sweet!
- Bugscope Team insects have a head, a thorax, and an abdomen, and they have six legs
- Bugscope Team many times the legs have claws on them like this
- Teacher why is it so spikey?
Bugscope Team the longer spikes help let the wasp know it is touching something; the tiny fringey hairs are called tenent setae, and they help the wasp stick to surfaces it cannot grab onto
- Teacher what is the claw used for?
Bugscope Team they use their claws much like we use our hands -- to help them grasp things. but if you had only claws it would be hard to walk around, so they often have pads between or near the claws that help them stick -- like the rubber on the bottom of our shoes
- Teacher is the claw very sharp?
Bugscope Team it's pretty sharp but so tiny that we would barely feel it
- Bugscope Team here you can see, to the right, a single scale from a butterfly or wasp wing; it looks kind of like a long rippled potato chip
- Bugscope Team if you look at a louse up close, it has tiny claws that it uses to cling to its host's hair
- Teacher what are the pointy stick like things off to the sides?
Bugscope Team those are bristles, or setae, that serve to let the wasp know it is touching something
- Bugscope Team insects do not have skin, like we do, with nerve endings in it; they have shells like shrimp or lobsters (which are crustaceans, not insects). the shells are like armor, and if you were wearing armor you would not be able to feel things touching you
- Bugscope Team roly polys are crustaceans as well
- Bugscope Team so insects make use of what look like hairs, to us, to help them sense their environment: smell and taste and feel it
- Teacher is that the eye and why does it have hair like things around it
Bugscope Team that is the eye, and it is a bit dented in, which happened after it died. As an insect dried out, it tends to shrivel. The hairs are just what you said they are-- hairs!
- Bugscope Team the hairs around the fly's eye help it sense the wind
- Guest We have to go. Thank you so much!
Bugscope Team Thank you!
- Teacher why does the eye look rubbery
Bugscope Team in a way it is kind of rubbery -- the chitin, which is what the shell of the insect, also called the cuticle, is made of, is kind of rubbery like our fingernails
- Teacher what is the purpose of the hairs around the eye
Bugscope Team most likely mechanosensory-- allows the fly to feel when things get close or bump into it. LIke cat or mouse whiskers
- Bugscope Team sometimes insect hairs help them sense their own bodies, like if one of the insect's arms is bumping into its body, it can feel that
- Teacher why does the eye look like it has lines and things
Bugscope Team from a lower magnification they look like lines, but you can see closer up that they are small circular things that are called ommatidia. They each are a lens that can see something
- Teacher is it rubbery to protect the eye
Bugscope Team yes it needs to be able to flex a bit to absorb shock, instead of cracking. sometimes when insects die and become hardened, the eyes will crack
- Teacher can you magnify the eye even more
Bugscope Team yes we can. it has a film on it, some kind of fluid that we can see now
- Bugscope Team a lot of ground dwelling insects don't rely on their eyes, and in some cases, don't have them. They rely on their antennae/feelers to help them get around
- Teacher why do they need the compound eyes
Bugscope Team many compound eyes are bulbous, or dome-like, and if they are that way it means the insect can see more without having to move its head. that is very helpful if you are searching for food and also trying to avoid being eaten
- Bugscope Team so the compound eyes give insects better 'peripheral vision,' meaning that they can see things that would normally, as we say, be in the corner of our eye, barely visible
- Bugscope Team also, compound eyes are like lots of tiny lenses that see almost the same thing, just from a different position
- Teacher what is the thing hanging down in the middle that looks like a trunk
Bugscope Team it is a proboscis, and it is much like an elephant's trunk. It drinks liquids out of it. In the case of the ambush bug, it drinks the blood of other insects
- Bugscope Team the insect can process the images that it picks up from all of those tiny lenses very quickly, and it can thus tell right away when something is attacking it, and get away, we hope
- Teacher are those antennae off to the sides
Bugscope Team yes they are!
- Teacher why is it called the ambush bug
Bugscope Team they hang out on plants and flowers, usually with a coloring that blends in, and they wait for an insect to come by the plant and grab them to eat them
- Bugscope Team inside the proboscis is another sharper part that penetrates the prey insect and helps suck out the blood, which in insects is called hemolymph
- Teacher what is the thing hanging off of the right eye
Bugscope Team that is lint and maybe some dirt as well. The string is lint though
- Teacher thank you so much, we are going to sign in from another classroom at 11.
- Bugscope Team cool. Thank you, see you soon!
- Teacher Hi, we are back.
- Bugscope Team hello!
- Bugscope Team Hello!
- Bugscope Team this is the ambush bug, and you can see that it is on the very edge of the stub inside the microscope
- Bugscope Team it has a big hole in it because it was once in an entomologist's collection, on a pin
- Teacher where would you find this type of bug
Bugscope Team they live on plants, in bushes, in places where they can blend into the background, and near flowers,often
- Bugscope Team this bug -- I switched on you -- is also a true bug, but this one lives on the water
- Teacher what are we looking at
Bugscope Team this is a backswimmer
- Bugscope Team and this is where the proboscis, which is much like that of the ambush bug, and used for the same purpose, is attached to the head
- Teacher what do you mean by 'true bug'
Bugscope Team they are a type of insect, that are often mistaken for beetles, that have a trunk called a proboscis that they use to drink liquids from. Cicadas are a true bug
- Bugscope Team 'true bugs' all have piercing/sucking mouthparts like this. stinkbugs, which are in many of the US states now, are true bugs too
- Bugscope Team this is the mealworm pupa
- Bugscope Team mealworms start as eggs, and when they hatch they come out as those long worm/caterpillar-like things we are used to.
- Bugscope Team they eat and eat and grow and grow, and they molt as they grow so they don't split their exoskeleton open from being so big
- Teacher how long does it take to turn into a pupa
Bugscope Team They are a larva for around 10 weeks. they are a pupa generally for around 18 days.
- Teacher what are the petal-like parts
Bugscope Team those are the legs. They are bent in towards the body. The bent parts are similar to our knees
- Bugscope Team all insects have a head, and a thorax (that has the legs attached to it), an abdomen, and six legs
- Teacher what are the dangling parts
Bugscope Team those are the tarsi (singular is tarsus). They are comparable to feet
- Bugscope Team adult insects often have wings, and once an insect has wings it does not molt anymore
- Bugscope Team once it has wings it is an adult, is another way of putting it
- Teacher where are the antennae
Bugscope Team they may be the long things that point downwards from the head; in this stage the insect is vulnerable because it is changing into the adult beetle
- Teacher how does the pupa breathe
Bugscope Team they have spiracles, which are little breathing holes, along its body. They are all connected to a trachea that runs along the body, supplying oxygen where needed
- Bugscope Team the pupa is kind of a protective case that holds the mealworm as in completely changes shape into a beetle
- Bugscope Team insects can open and close their spiracles, so for example if they fall into the water they can close them and not drown, for at least awhile
- Teacher where are the mouth and the eyes
Bugscope Team the mouth is at the bottom of the head, with two palps on either side of it, but it is not functional as a mouth at this stage; I don't believe there are eyes, although the shell becomes more and more translucent, and the beetle insect can likely sense light at a certain point in development
- Bugscope Team pollen!
- Bugscope Team we don't know what kind of pollen this is, may a grass or ragweed, but there are many that look like this
- Bugscope Team 'maybe' a grass or ragweed...
- Bugscope Team the eye facets are called ommatidia
- Bugscope Team a single one -- a single lens -- is called an ommatidium
- Bugscope Team each one collects an image that is processed in the fly's brain so it can get a very good idea of what is around it
- Teacher what are the bumps on each of the lenses
Bugscope Team they looks like areas where a liquid dried on them
- Bugscope Team yes that stuff would not normally be there -- the fly would wipe it off
- Teacher what is this hairy part
Bugscope Team you can see there are hairs of different sizes, where most of them are for allowing the fly to feel when something is coming near it or bumps into it
- Bugscope Team right now we are looking into a spiracle, which is one of those openings through which insects breathe
- Bugscope Team the long frond-like hairs are there to keep particles out of the spiracle
- Bugscope Team its wings are south of here
- Bugscope Team flies have two wings, and bees and wasps and dragonflies have four wings
- Teacher can we please see a close up of a wing
- Bugscope Team but when bees and wasps fly, they hook the fore- and hindwings on each side together
- Teacher how fast do flies beat their wings
Bugscope Team it varies -- 400 to maybe 1000 beats per second
- Teacher is this a wing?
Bugscope Team yes it is! it has tiny setae on it called microsetae, or microtrichae
- Bugscope Team many different types!
- Teacher are there different types of flies
Bugscope Team yes there are about 6500 species of flies
- Bugscope Team fruit flies are the tiny ones that like to be around overripe fruit
- Teacher how long do flies typically live
Bugscope Team generally a few weeks to more than a month
- Bugscope Team horse flies can bite you and they get to be decently big
- Bugscope Team many flies, like houseflies and fruit flies, have sponging/sucking mouthparts
- Teacher why do the wings have the setae on them
Bugscope Team the setae may help strengthen the wing, help with thermoregulation (staying the right temperature), and also provide surface area to help catch the air
- Teacher how long can they fly without taking a break
Bugscope Team houseflies can easily travel 1-2 miles
- Bugscope Team young healthy adults can fly for 500 minutes, so for several hours
- Teacher how long approximately would it take a fly to travel that distance
Bugscope Team it would take only about 15 minutes; houseflies are said to fly about 4.5 miles per hour
- Teacher can we please look at the spider fang
Bugscope Team just a sec and I will find it
- Teacher can you zoom into that pore
- Bugscope Team d'oh I was just typing what Cate said
- Bugscope Team like a needle
- Teacher what kind of spider is this
Bugscope Team it was reddish in color but we are not sure what kind it is
- Bugscope Team spiders inject venom into their prey that dissolves the inner organs, and the spider is immune to that venom, apparently, because she/he sucks it all up again like a milkshake
- Teacher what do spiders eat
Bugscope Team insects or other spiders. They bite them with their fangs and inject their venom which will liquify the insides of their victim. Then they will use the fangs again to drink up the contents like a milkshake
- Bugscope Team spiders can sense when another spider has bitten them, and if the venom is in danger of getting to the spider's body through one of the legs, it can make that leg fall off
- Teacher on that note, we are off to lunch. thank you so much
- Bugscope Team haha
- Bugscope Team Thank You!
- Bugscope Team http://bugscope.beckman.illinois.edu/members/2010-134
- Bugscope Team Bye!