Connected on 2012-09-18 08:00:00 from Sullivan, Tennessee, United States
- Bugscope Team good morning!
- Bugscope Team we are just starting to set up
- Teacher Good morning, Scott! We are currently in homeroom and the students will soon be in the classroom ready for science. They are so excited!
- Bugscope Team we are connecting at 8 a.m., correct?
- Bugscope Team it will take me a little while to make the presets -- to look over the sample and find cool stuff on it
- Teacher Yes. 9:00 our time, correct?
- Bugscope Team yes. I was concerned that we had a time mixup, in which case I would have tried to speed things up
- Teacher We are ready whenever you are. I just logged on early.
- Bugscope Team the sample is in the 'scope and pumping down; after it reaches vacuum I will start making 'presets' for your session
- Bugscope Team now I have set the screen so you can see the samples within the vacuum chamber
- Bugscope Team the large thing that looks like a caterpillar is a tobacco hornworm larvae -- it is a caterpillar
- Bugscope Team you can see other things but they are difficult to make out -- a bee, a fly, an earwig...
- Bugscope Team the vacuum is almost ready
- Bugscope Team please do not drive the microscope while I am setting things up
- Teacher Fantastic! We have the image. It is pretty dark and I am trying to adjust brightness, but it says another microscope control is pending. Advise. Well, I guess that answers my question.
- Bugscope Team this is an ant. when we see it at lower mag we can see that its head is crushed, a bit
- Bugscope Team now you can see that I am moving around the sample stub and trying to locate cool places
- Bugscope Team there is a mite!
- Bugscope Team can you see everything? this is a ladybug, not so cute when they're larvae
- Teacher We can see the images!
- Bugscope Team and this is pollen from a lily
- Bugscope Team soon I will be done and you may drive...
- Bugscope Team the ants are so very small that it is hard to handle them
- Bugscope Team I think we have enough presets now
- Bugscope Team you are welcome to drive the microscope
- Bugscope Team you may also select from any of the presets on the lefthand screen -- the places we just located on the stub
- Bugscope Team also, please be sure to let us know when you have questions about anything
- Bugscope Team right now we are looking at a spider's fangs at 650x
- Bugscope Team we can see one of the poison pores on the fang to the left
- Bugscope Team the dark area just to the left of center is where the poison comes out of the fang
- Teacher Ok, thanks. We are ready to take an even closer look.
- Bugscope Team please let us know, also, if you have trouble operating the 'scope
- Bugscope Team cool this is the head of earwig!
- Bugscope Team now you are looking at its mouth
- Bugscope Team you can see a compound eye to the right and down
- Bugscope Team in the lower right corner
- Bugscope Team insects have little feelers on their mouthparts called palps
- Bugscope Team there are two sets of palps
- Bugscope Team not all insects, I should say...
- Bugscope Team the compound eye has lots of tiny lenses on it, so it gets lots of views of its surroundings
- Teacher What are we looking at that is in front of they eye?
Bugscope Team the curving thing that looks like an arm or leg is one of the palps
- Bugscope Team palps help the insect manipulate food toward the mouth, and they also have sensors on them that help the insect taste its food
- Bugscope Team in the lower left we see a 'knee'
- Bugscope Team that is the knee joint of one of the earwig's legs
- Bugscope Team all insects have six legs, a head, a thorax, an abdomen, and two antennae
- Bugscope Team not all insects have compound eyes
- Bugscope Team the thorax is the 'chest' or 'trunk' area, and the legs are attached to it
- Bugscope Team this is an antenna
- Bugscope Team sticking up toward a bee's wing
- Bugscope Team the antenna has many joints that make it flexible
- Bugscope Team insects do not have skin; instead they have a hardened shell
- Bugscope Team because they do not have skin, they do not have the ability to sense things touching their skin like we do
- Teacher What is on the antennae
Bugscope Team at the top of the antenna -- the more gray rounded thing -- is the wing of a bee
- Bugscope Team the antenna also has a fiber stuck to it, and it has tiny hairs on it, called setae, that are sensory
- Bugscope Team almost every ant we see is a female
- Bugscope Team males are kind of rare, and they have wings
- Bugscope Team see the compound eye and the two antennae?
- Bugscope Team we can also see the ant's mouth, toward the top of where we are looking now
- Bugscope Team the antenna is attached to the head by a ball and socket joint
- Bugscope Team now we see the ant's mandibles -- its jaws
- Teacher What is all over the mouth area?
Bugscope Team there is some mold there
- Teacher The kids think she needs to shave.
Bugscope Team haha Yeah!
- Teacher Is that a tooth?
Bugscope Team it is the tip of one of the jaws, and it is hardened but not really a tooth
- Bugscope Team the thing that looks like a tooth is the tip of the opposite mandible
- Bugscope Team insect jaws open from the left and right, like a gate
- Bugscope Team these are called crochets -- the little hooklike things
- Teacher What do they do?
Bugscope Team crochets are are on the 'prolegs' of the caterpillar, and they help it cling to surfaces
- Bugscope Team the larva has six legs, because it is an insect, of course. but it also has these little mounds with crochets in them called prolegs
- Teacher Are those the structures that feel like velcro when they cling to your hand?
Bugscope Team yes the sharp parts are so small they don't hurt us
- Bugscope Team this is the head, now
- Teacher Where are the eyes?
- Bugscope Team you can see lots of dots on the head; it is hard to tell which ones are stemmata, which is what the eyes are called
- Bugscope Team some of these bumps are eyes
- Bugscope Team they can have five or six eyes on either side of the head
- Bugscope Team gnarly
- Bugscope Team the eyes are not very good; they are more like light sensors
- Teacher Do they really use them to see?
Bugscope Team they cannot see very well until they change into moths
- Bugscope Team all spiders have venom that they inject into their prey
- Bugscope Team the venom dissolves the inner organs of the prey, and the spider is immune to its own venom; its sucks everything up like a milkshake
- Teacher Can we see where the venom would come out of the spider?
- Bugscope Team the black curved area we see now is a bit plugged up with dried venom, but that is one of the pores
- Bugscope Team that is not all venom; some of it is mold
- Bugscope Team the fangs are curved inward, and they are at the ends of larger things, like jaws, that are called chelicerae, or chelicers
- Teacher We didn't know that dead bugs were so moldy. Does the mold come after they die or are they walking around with a certain amount on them?
Bugscope Team the mold comes after they die. it is always in the air, and an insect may have mold on it when it is alive, but the mold takes over when the insect dies
- Bugscope Team sometimes our insects are more moldy than other times
- Teacher What type of spider are we viewing?
Bugscope Team it is some kind of house spider, perhaps a wolf spider; often they are dried up quite a bit and it is hard to tell
- Bugscope Team we are looking at the spider from below
- Bugscope Team now we can see where the fangs are, at the tips of the chelicerae
- Bugscope Team this is a female spider. we can tell because its palps are small
- Teacher So his/her eyes would be on the other side, correct?
Bugscope Team yes I am sorry -- we have to make choices when we mount them
- Teacher Why are spiders so hairy?
Bugscope Team spiders are very sensitive to vibration, and the hairs help them sense vibration
- Teacher Perfectly okay. We don't usually turn our dead spiders upside down, so this is a good view. Thanks!
- Bugscope Team some spiders also have what are called 'urticating hairs' that they release when an animal gets too close
- Bugscope Team urticaria means 'itching'
- Bugscope Team the spiders release those hairs to discourage dogs, for example, from sniffing them
- Teacher Is this used just against other insects or humans as well?
Bugscope Team I think it is most helpful against humans and dogs and mice, etc.
- Teacher Thanks again for the definition. One of the students was very busy looking it up.
- Bugscope Team spiders can also sense when, for example, another spider has bitten one their legs and the poison is advancing toward the body
- Bugscope Team when the spider senses that venom from another spider is within its leg, the spider can make that leg fall off
- Teacher How big can the fangs grow in proportion to the spider?
Bugscope Team they have to be foldable, and they have to fit the chelicerae -- the chelicers need to be able to spread far enough apart so the fangs can actually bite
- Teacher What is a spider's favorite food?
Bugscope Team most spiders eat insects, and they probably don't care what kind -- perhaps the most plump and juicy insects, though
- Bugscope Team when the spider makes its own leg fall off, that is called 'autotomy.'
- Teacher Great adaptation for survival. We are impressed with our bug buddies.
- Bugscope Team spiders do not have a head and a thorax and an abdomen like an insect -- I think I forgot to say earlier that all insects have abdomens
- Bugscope Team spiders, instead, have what is called a 'cephalothorax.'
- Bugscope Team that means, sort of 'head-trunk.'
- Bugscope Team spiders of course have eight legs
- Bugscope Team and they have two palps, one of which we can see well now
- Teacher We are trying to view the ladybug larva, but it's not moving.
- Bugscope Team I will take us there.
- Bugscope Team there is a tiny aphid stuck to the foreleg of the ladybug larva
- Bugscope Team we can see that the larva has six legs, and we can see its spiny body
- Teacher Can you point out the aphid?
- Bugscope Team ladybug larvae are predators of other insects just like ladybugs are predators of other insects when they grow up
- Bugscope Team it is in the middle, up a bit, and looks like a bunch of small legs
- Bugscope Team it looks like a jumble of legs
- Bugscope Team the circle we see above and to the right is a spiracle
- Teacher What is NE of that--dark spot?
Bugscope Team that is what insects use to breathe through
- Bugscope Team there are usually two spiracles per segment, on either side of the body segment
- Bugscope Team spiracles are connected on the inside to tubes called tracheae that carry oxygen to the inner organs
- Teacher What is inside the spiracle?
Bugscope Team so that the insect does not suck in a bunch of dust or fine particles, the spiracle has a kind of filter at the entrance
- Bugscope Team insects can open and close their spiracles, so they hold their breath that way (when they're closed)
- Teacher Do the larva eat aphids too?
Bugscope Team yes aphids are softbodied, which is why the one we see that is dried up is hard to recognize. that makes them easy to bite into
- Bugscope Team we see that the ladybug larva has very few stemmata -- very few primitive eyes
- Teacher Can you tell male or female at the larva stage?
Bugscope Team I don't know how. Often with insects it is hard to tell unless you break them open.
- Bugscope Team we can tell male mosquitoes from females because the males have very ornate antennae, and we can tell male earwigs from females because their pincers are different
- Teacher One of my girls said that if this is the best looking one, she is glad she is not an insect.
Bugscope Team haha. I am glad not to be an insect as well. it would be a tough life, and quick
- Bugscope Team with spiders, we can tell males from females because the males have swollen palps, like boxing gloves. and of course sometimes the females are much much larger than the males
- Bugscope Team the parts sticking out are palps
- Teacher Is that its bottom jaw and is that another hard part of the jaw, a tooth, or hair?
Bugscope Team those are conical palps, which are the tasting and food manipulating feelers
- Bugscope Team this is the tip of one of the palps
- Bugscope Team these are akin to tastebuds on our tongues
- Teacher Is this mold again?
Bugscope Team no but the texture does look similar to mold. It is the tip of a palp
- Bugscope Team this is about 20,000x magnified
- Bugscope Team 5 microns is the same as 5 micrometers. a micrometer is a thousandth of a millimeter, and thus a millionth of a meter
- Bugscope Team bacteria, if there are any on these insects, are 2 micrometers long
- Bugscope Team so we could see bacteria
- Bugscope Team I think this is actually a yellow jacket, a kind of wasp
- Bugscope Team you can see its eyes, and its mandibles, and its antennae
- Bugscope Team its face is kind of mashed
- Bugscope Team you can also see part of its tongue, in the lower left, and you can see lots of scales from moths or butterflies
- Bugscope Team this is the tongue
- Bugscope Team i hope that mold tastes good :)
- Bugscope Team to the left is a bouquet of mold spores
- Teacher So cool!
- Bugscope Team the mold spores are cute, like little kittens
- Teacher Hahaha. We will agree to disagree. We prefer kittens, but we might not if they were magnified.
- Bugscope Team oh okay
- Bugscope Team the mold spores look kind of like pollen as well. pollen takes lots of shapes
- Bugscope Team this is an ant's compound eye, with thirty or so facets
- Teacher Is this pollen on the ant eye?
Bugscope Team it looks like a piece of dust or dirt. Maybe some sort of plant material
- Bugscope Team the eye facets are called 'ommatidia.'
- Bugscope Team ants get a lot more information about the environment from their antennae
- Teacher No eyelids, so does it use its legs?
Bugscope Team yes it does!
- Bugscope Team I am not sure we can see them on these ants, but ants have built-in 'combs' on their forelegs
- Teacher Do they use the antennae for smell?
Bugscope Team yes they do. ants are very sensitive to chemical scents\
- Bugscope Team there is the comb
- Bugscope Team you can see that the comb is rounded and will fit around the antenna like a brush
- Bugscope Team it has tiny rigid setae on it like the combs we use\
- Teacher Super! Now is this on the leg or the antennae?
Bugscope Team this is on the leg
- Bugscope Team the ant can use its leg to clean its antennae, and this is the part that wraps around the antenna
- Teacher Oh. I think we got it now.
- Teacher So these are used for gripping?
Bugscope Team sort of loosely gripping the antenna and stroking it to get it clean of dust and small particles
- Bugscope Team you can see a spine there that helps the ant sense when it is touching something
- Bugscope Team ah this is one of the mites!
- Bugscope Team the mite does not have eyes, and it has a super tiny head
- Bugscope Team the mite looks like a very small beetle
- Bugscope Team to the left is a scale from a moth or butterfly
- Teacher Is this the mouth?
Bugscope Team we are actually not sure how they feed. it is possible they feed through their feed, which look like little suction cups
- Bugscope Team it is hard to get good information about mites. there is a book available but it is very expensive
- Teacher feet?
Bugscope Team i think that is what Scot meant
- Bugscope Team oh sorry yes feet
- Teacher Are they kind of like a leech?
Bugscope Team I think they are, in a way. They are a kind of parasite, or at least a symbiont.
- Bugscope Team they live on insects, but we do not know if they eat food the insect does not eat, or whether perhaps they feed on hemolymph, which is the insect version of blood
- Teacher Students want to know what the part is that has two stringy things coming off it?
Bugscope Team we think that is the head, and the stringy things are kind of like antennae
- Bugscope Team they look like feelers so it is most likely part of the head
- Bugscope Team or yeah, like Cate said -- they could be more like palps
- Teacher Thanks. We were a little confused.
- Bugscope Team we don't always know, on this end. we see some odd stuff, and when we work with entomologists we ask lots of questions
- Bugscope Team this is much like what a human hair looks like, but it has a smaller diameter
- Teacher Are all animal hairs segmented?
Bugscope Team no they aren't all like this. Some are very straight. Some look like spirals
- Teacher You'll get no complaints from us. We are amazed by what you do and are inspired to want to know more.
Bugscope Team this is super fun for us
- Teacher We think they look a lot like antennae.
Bugscope Team when we look at antennae, close up, we see lots of sensory setae, and we also often see what are called placoid (which means 'platelike') sensillae.
- Bugscope Team insects do a lot of chemical sensing. much more than people seem to do
- Teacher Do we know what type of beetle?
Bugscope Team maybe Cate knows. it is a small beetle like a cucumber beetle
Bugscope Team some sort of small seed beetle maybe
- Teacher We also would like to know why some beetles have wings but do not fly.
Bugscope Team they can probably fly but not very well, sort of in little bursts
- Teacher Can you identify all of the things we are seeing in and around the mouth?
Bugscope Team there are two sets of palps, mandibular and maxillary, and there are two mandibles, and there is a plate above the mouth that moves when the insect eats, the clypeus?\
- Bugscope Team there are lots of sensory setae that are likely mechanosensors (touch sensitive), and there are also thermosensory setae (hot/cold). and of course there are chemosensory setae, for taste and smell.\
- Teacher The students have decided that this is not a view they would like to have prior to being eaten.
Bugscope Team I think Cate and I would agree with that.
- Teacher Do insects have tastebuds and/or tongues?
Bugscope Team some of them have tongues; in a bee the tongue is called a 'glossa.' moths and butterflies have a long coiled proboscis that functions like a tongue; they uncoil it and extend it into flowers to obtain nectar.
- Bugscope Team all insects have something like tastebuds, and they are often on the palps but can be elsewhere as well
- Bugscope Team Monarch butterflies have chemosensory setae on their feet
- Teacher Are the 3 boxy structures the bottom jaw?
Bugscope Team those are components of the head, but in insect the jaws -- the mandibles -- go left and right. actually the whole mouth is very complicated; it moves several directions at once when the insect is chewing, if it is a chewing insect
- Bugscope Team I'm sorry we do not have definitive answers on all of the mouthparts
- Bugscope Team here we can see more of the antennae, and we can see tiny setae (hairs) on them
- Bugscope Team insects are hairy -- that is, they have lots of setae -- because they do not have skin, like we do, with nerve endings in it
- Bugscope Team insects have an exoskeleton, which is a kind of shell. they don't have bones, which is one reason they are called invertebrates (they don't have backbones).
- Teacher What are the dark holes below the compound eyes? Same as the ladybug?
Bugscope Team the one dark area we see now is where the mandible folds open and closed
- Bugscope Team if I am looking the same place you are. the mandible has hinges at the sides, very much like a gate
- Bugscope Team or I should say the mandibles have hinges at their anchor points
- Bugscope Team this is where the jaw opens outward; this is the hinge of one of the jaws (mandibles)
- Bugscope Team the ommatidia -- the eye facets -- have a thin film on them. some dried fluid
- Teacher We like to get all of our questions answered, but we are glad that you have given us things we can investigate further.
Bugscope Team that is a great way of looking at it!
- Bugscope Team some of the rigid setae we see -- the ones that look like bristles -- are for proprioception. which is self-sensing.
- Bugscope Team you can see that if one of the joints moves in a particular direction, the bristle will be touched or bent, and that sends a signal through nerves it is attached to that the joint has been moved
- Bugscope Team so an insect can tell when one of its limbs is overextended
- Teacher We had forgotten to think about the bones being on the outside, so it's neat to see the joints and hinges. We can see the way the bugs are built.
Bugscope Team yeah isn't it cool?
- Teacher Looks like it lost an antennae.
- Bugscope Team yes it did!
- Bugscope Team it's all Cate's fault
- Bugscope Team really, these ants are so small it is hard to pick them up without hurting them
- Bugscope Team you can see from the scalebar at the lower left of the screen that the ant's head is about a half millimeter long
- Teacher Now lets not go blaming the hard workers.
Bugscope Team I was just kidding, of course.
- Teacher Is that the base still inside?
Bugscope Team yes part of the ball and socket joint is still attached to the head there
- Bugscope Team we think that the tiny setae we see on the top of the head are not sensory. they are microsetae, and they give the ant a pattern and a certain shininess; they also likely help with thermoregulation
- Teacher Are both jaws intact?
Bugscope Team yes one is tucked beneath the other
- Bugscope Team some ants, like leafcutter ants, have serrated jaws that work like pinking shears, for cutting
- Teacher Is that how they work rather than joining one another?
Bugscope Team yes when they slide past each other they can cut, like scissors
- Teacher Great! We just had the scissors out explaining. Yeah!
- Bugscope Team this is another one of those mites
- Bugscope Team see how small the mite is compared to the size of its host?
- Teacher What is it on?
- Bugscope Team it is on one of the earwig's legs
- Teacher Awesome perspective. We just had an aha moment in understanding magnification.
- Bugscope Team 200 microns is a fifth of a millimeter
- Bugscope Team the mite is less than a fifth of a millimeter long. you can see them with your eyes, but they are quite small
- Teacher Well, a math lesson is coming up next.
- Bugscope Team it is important to us to be able to set the 'scope up so you can appreciate size distinctions
- Teacher How many mites can live on a piece of dust?
Bugscope Team haha I guess it depends on the size of the piece of dust. dustmites are super small but harder for us to image because they are softbodied like aphids and thus shrivel up when they die
- Bugscope Team okay this is kind of cool -- let's stay here for a sec
- Bugscope Team see the very small things that look like soccer balls?
- Teacher Tell us more.
- Bugscope Team or kind of like whiffleballs?
- Bugscope Team those are brochosomes, and they are said to come only from leafhoppers.
- Bugscope Team they are less than a micrometer in diameter, usually 250 to 400 nanometers in diameter
- Bugscope Team so those little balls we can barely see right now are the same size as the wavelengths of visible light
- Teacher We just saw the amount of magnification and everybody said, "WOW!"
- Bugscope Team they are nanoparticles
- Bugscope Team when we use this microscope for research (most of the time), we take the sample much closer to the polepiece, which is where the electrons come from
- Bugscope Team when we use the microscope for Bugscope, we stay far away from the polepiece so we can also look at the whole insect]\
- Bugscope Team this is pretty cool.
- Teacher We think you have one of the coolest jobs!
- Bugscope Team yeah this seems like magic but it's real
- Bugscope Team Cate and I are lucky to have all of these fun instruments to work with.
- Bugscope Team the brochosomes were in a space between the ommatidia on the compound eye of an aphid
- Bugscope Team this is a cornicle, also called a siphuncle, on an aphid
- Teacher Well, we appreciate you both sharing What is that?
Bugscope Team this looks like an aphid cornicle maybe.
- Teacher Purpose, again?
- Bugscope Team cornicles are often used in self defense against ants
- Bugscope Team they produce a wax-like fluid that hardens instantly and immobilizes an ant
- Teacher How?
Bugscope Team they drop wax that the ants will walk in and get stuck
- Bugscope Team cornicles are like hot-melt glue guns
- Bugscope Team almost all insects have some sort of defense against ants
- Teacher So, an aphid can take an ant?
Bugscope Team haha only until the next one comes along
- Teacher Are ants considered the gladiators of bugs? The ones to beat?
Bugscope Team ants are ruthless, like destructor machines; they are not easily stopped
- Bugscope Team so I would say yes they are the ones to beat in most cases
- Bugscope Team what is cool about leafcutter ants is that they are actually farmers
- Teacher No one can live without farmers.
- Bugscope Team they cut different leaves from different plants and keep them in different places; they grow mold on the leaves and eat that
- Bugscope Team this is what lily pollen looks like
- Bugscope Team it is lily pollen...
- Teacher We think it looks like coral.
- Bugscope Team pollen comes in lots of shapes and sizes. sometimes it looks a lot like mold spores, but mold spores are generally smaller and softer
- Bugscope Team we are going to have to let someone else use the 'scope now...
- Bugscope Team https://bugscope.beckman.illinois.edu/members/2012-060
- Bugscope Team below is the link to the transcript for this session
- Teacher We really hate to go, but it is past time to change classes. You guys have been more than gracious with your time. Thank you so very much! We look forward to returning.
- Bugscope Team We will be happy to have you back. Please be sure to apply early for a session that may be months away!
- Bugscope Team Thank You!
- Bugscope Team Thank You!
- Bugscope Team we hope to see you again!
- Bugscope Team Bye!