www.photomacrography.net :: View topic - The face behind the mask (cricket mandibles)
www.photomacrography.net Forum Index
An online community dedicated to the practices of photomacrography, close-up and macro photography, and photomicrography.
Photomacrography Front Page Amateurmicrography Front Page
Old Forums/Galleries
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
The face behind the mask (cricket mandibles)

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.photomacrography.net Forum Index -> Macro and Close-up Archives
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18095
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:36 am    Post subject: The face behind the mask (cricket mandibles) Reply with quote

============== I had no idea! Shocked ===============



I mean, crickets normally look like such cute friendly little guys. Smile

Soft little palps, soft little faces, soft little...well...soft. Cuddly, almost. Jiminy Cricket, and all that.

But it turns out there's a dark side to those soft little critters, and the photo above shows the face behind the mask.

The story here is that several weeks ago I caught a big female praying mantis.

I figured the mantis needed something to eat, and there was not much left in the wild, so I went to the local pet store and bought some crickets. Acheta domestica, said the salesman, your basic "European house cricket". I got a dozen of them.

But the mantis laid her eggs and died of old age before she ate all the crickets.

"Turn about is fair play", it seems, because the crickets then ate what was left of the mantis.

"How do they do that?" I wondered in passing. Mantis hide isn't exactly delicate stuff. But I didn't follow up on the question.

Not until the crickets started dying of old age too. And not even then, until one of them happened to die in a most unusual posture.

It turns out that the face of a cricket is mostly covered with a fleshy flap divided into parts named the "clypeus" and "labrum". (See diagram, here.)

In its last dying movements, this particular cricket had apparently spread its mandibles, thrust its clypeus and labrum between them, then chomped down, leaving the mandibles exposed for me to notice.

I have since checked other corpses. They all have mandibles just like the ones shown here, but they are incredibly well hidden. Jiminy Cricket, indeed!

Following is a side-by-side comparison -- normal Jiminy Cricket posture on the left, the pictured specimen on the right.



Hope you find this as interesting as I did. Very Happy

--Rik

Technical: First image using Canon 300D with 38 mm Olympus bellows macro lens at f/4, stacked at 0.002" focus step. Halogen fiber illuminator, pingpong ball diffuser.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 6951
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A wolf in sheeps clothing? I really like these images Very Happy , though I never suspected crickets to have such tremendous chompers. Wonder if Disney knows about this? Probably so but kept it a corporate secret I suppose. Think
_________________
However, while there is grace where in all that I might live, while there is still breath in my being, while I may or may not accomplish anything more in life than to be living, I shall reflect upon the past, applying it to the present, for to possibly perceive to a near certainty, the outcome of the future.

Ken 2014
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Michigan Michael



Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 193
Location: SE Mi.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff, Rik.
Interesting and educational.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JoanYoung



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 583
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for an extremely interest post Rik, and great pics too. Wow, these are some ugly mandibles!! Smile
_________________
Joan Young
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
cactuspic



Joined: 26 Dec 2006
Posts: 429
Location: Dallas, TX

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My, what big mandibles you have, grandmother....Very interesting story about how curiosity lead to good photography, Rik. On a technical note, I think the glare on the mandible may partially be eliminated by a polarizier.

Irwin
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MacroLuv



Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Posts: 1964
Location: Croatia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks sharp as a shark's tooth. Shocked
_________________
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18095
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cactuspic wrote:
My, what big mandibles you have, grandmother....Very interesting story about how curiosity lead to good photography, Rik. On a technical note, I think the glare on the mandible may partially be eliminated by a polarizier.

Irwin

Thanks, Irwin.

As it happens, I worked very hard to get that glare just as it appears here -- three different diffusers and a zillion different light placements got tried and rejected, before I settled on what you see here. Laughing

Look closely, and you'll notice that none of the glare is blown out, while every ridge, valley, pit, bump, and scratch can be clearly seen. Without the glare, most of that info disappears -- all that shows is a dark shape. If I wanted to highlight the color of the material, a polarizer would be a blessing. To highlight the shape, it's a curse. Different tools for different goals... Very Happy

--Rik
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Charles Krebs



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 5749
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik,

Very impressive image! And informative as well... never would have guessed it if you had posted the shot as a "quiz"!
_________________
http://www.krebsmicro.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
cactuspic



Joined: 26 Dec 2006
Posts: 429
Location: Dallas, TX

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
cactuspic wrote:
My, what big mandibles you have, grandmother....Very interesting story about how curiosity lead to good photography, Rik. On a technical note, I think the glare on the mandible may partially be eliminated by a polarizier.

Irwin

Thanks, Irwin.

As it happens, I worked very hard to get that glare just as it appears here -- three different diffusers and a zillion different light placements got tried and rejected, before I settled on what you see here. Laughing

Look closely, and you'll notice that none of the glare is blown out, while every ridge, valley, pit, bump, and scratch can be clearly seen. Without the glare, most of that info disappears -- all that shows is a dark shape. If I wanted to highlight the color of the material, a polarizer would be a blessing. To highlight the shape, it's a curse. Different tools for different goals... Very Happy
--Rik


Rik,

I would be the last to recommend the use of a polarizer to eliminate the highlights in the subjects eyes or criticize a conscious artistic choice to use glare. I do want to get more info about your statement that without the polarizer everything would have gone dark and detail would have been lost. I have had numerous times where the polarizer has not helped the detail or shape at all. I have never knowingly observed a situartion where detail such as scratches or bump or tonal gradations were lost due to a polarizer. I don't claim to know the science (I can't even tell you how a polarizer works), but it does run contrary to my basic understanding and experience. It's my understanding that removing the glare will allow you to see texture and shape better, such as using a polarizer to allow you to see into water better.

Having looked at the photo several times again while writing this, are you approaching this as a problems of sensor latitude, where the difference between the light and dark tones are too great for the sensor to hold detail in both? And because the glare had the effect of lightening dark sections of the image, the details that would have otherwise been blocked up are now lightened and registering?

Please forgive my ignorance in this matter. I am just trying to more fully understand the use of a simple (hah) polarizer.

Three different diffusers on a cricket jaw...lol. You must be using pinpoint lighting. How did you light the mandible?

Irwin
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18095
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Irwin, the best answers to your questions are visual, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, a few words...

cactuspic wrote:
It's my understanding that removing the glare will allow you to see texture and shape better, such as using a polarizer to allow you to see into water better.

Ahh, but suppose what you really want to see is the shape of the water.

Try this little experiment. Make yourself a cup of black coffee or dark tea. While it's brewing, haul out some polarizing sunglasses. Now, pour the coffee into a cup. Position it so you have a nice reflection of some background light area, fairly glancing, say around 30 degrees to the surface. Tap on the side of the cup. Watch the ripples. They're easy to see. Now put on the sunglasses. The reflections will disappear. That's what polarizing sunglasses are supposed to do, and they do it quite well. But when the reflections disappear, the ripples disappear too!

If you want to see through the water, then a polarizing filter is just the ticket because it kills the glare. But if you want to see the shape of the water (the ripples), then killing the glare is just the wrong thing to do, and the polarizing filter works against you.

The cricket mandibles are like the coffee. I want to show the ripples.

Quote:

Three different diffusers on a cricket jaw...lol. You must be using pinpoint lighting. How did you light the mandible?

Um...what I think you read is not what I intended to write. Rolling Eyes

I tried and rejected three different diffuser arrangements before settling on the arrangement that I finally used. That final arrangement was a single diffuser -- half a pingpong ball with a small circular hole in the middle, illuminated by the two heads of a split fiber. I'll show you a picture tomorrow. Very Happy

--Rik
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jmlphoto



Joined: 10 Aug 2007
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow very interesting, doesnt even look like those things would fit in the head. so now you have some mantis eggs too?
_________________
Jordan L. photo southern california.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18095
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The answers to Irwin's questions got kind of technical Wink , so I replied over in the Technical forum.

See this post, "Effect of polarizing filters on the cricket mandibles photo".

--Rik
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18095
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmlphoto wrote:
so now you have some mantis eggs too?

I do!

I don't have a clue what I'm going to do with them, though.

When they hatch, the little ones will be moving around way too much for my favorite stacking techniques to work. Confused

Charles Krebs wrote:
Very impressive image! And informative as well... never would have guessed it if you had posted the shot as a "quiz"!

Thanks, Charlie! You know, posting it as a quiz never occurred to me. Maybe I should think about that more often. Very Happy

--Rik
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18095
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacroLuv wrote:
It looks sharp as a shark's tooth. Shocked

It sure does!

I did some follow-up study, and I was interested to find that some of that rough and rugged appearance is apparently due to wear.

Here is a side-by-side comparison.



On the left, one of the mandibles shown above, from a specimen that died of old age after eating its way through a mantis corpse.

On the right, the matching mandible from a different specimen, this one fresh from the pet store where I suppose it had only nice soft food to eat.

There is some overall difference in the surface texture, but what really catches my attention is the striking difference in what I assume are wear patterns -- the scratches and faceting along the direction of movement.

--Rik
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tony T



Joined: 22 Dec 2007
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:20 pm    Post subject: Try this Reply with quote

Hi Rik:
In a former life I used to work on Blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae). The larvae live in flowing water, often in very large numbers, and several species overwinter as larvae. Should be easy to find now in any flowing water. Anyway, one of the main characters for ID'ing the larvae are the teeth, they have a whole row of 'sharks teeth' along the front edge of the head capsule, With your skills I bet you could get some interesting, and useful, images.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.photomacrography.net Forum Index -> Macro and Close-up Archives All times are GMT - 7 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group