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Fritillary butterfly, larva head capsule, 1st instar

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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:04 am    Post subject: Fritillary butterfly, larva head capsule, 1st instar Reply with quote



Over in the macro forum, I have been posting some pictures of the relatively large head capsule shed by a mature (5th instar?) larva of a fritillary butterfly (genus Speyeria).

What's shown here is the relatively small head capsule shed by a 1st instar larva of the same brood. This capsule formed inside the butterfly's egg and was used by the freshly hatched caterpillar until its first molt, at which time the caterpillar simply grew a new head capsule and cast off this one along with its old too-small skin.

What you see here is roughly what you'd see through a 100X microscope. On a typical monitor, the image is actually reproduced at about 250X.

I was interested to notice that the bristles of this 1st instar larva are obviously barbed. The much larger bristles of the 5th instar head capsule appear to be smooth when viewed at correspondingly lower magnification. However, when examined at the same magnification as shown here, the 5th instar bristles appear to be barbed also, with the size and number of barbs apparently not much changed from 1st instar. (This is a casual observation; I have not studied carefully.) Many bristles on insects have a sensory function. I do not know what function the barbs serve.

Two large light spots on the left side of the head capsule are thin membranes that used to cover lateral ocelli. Similar membranes appear over all the other ocelli (on both sides), but they are shadowed and appear dark in this particular orientation.

The light halos around some bristles are artifacts of the stacking procedure. Often I do some manual stacking to remove artifacts like these, but in this case they struck me as helpful by delineating bristles that would otherwise be almost invisible.

--Rik

Technical: Canon SD700IS point-and-shoot through 10X eyepiece, 10X NA 0.25 achromat objective, brightfield illumination, background pushed to uniform light gray in Photoshop postprocessing. 73 frames stacked by Helicon Focus, total depth about 0.2 mm, subject just barely restrained under cover slip elevated by vaseline on corners.
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Charles Krebs



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent brightfield shot Rik.

The translucence of the capsule makes it a perfect subject for brightfield. All too often insect "parts" are too opaque without some additional preparation.

So does this mean we'll see more microscope shots in the future?
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Egad! Here we go again Laughing
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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
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charles Krebs wrote:
Excellent brightfield shot Rik. ... So does this mean we'll see more microscope shots in the future?

Thanks, Charlie. Not in the near future, I'm afraid. I have to go back to work at the lab tomorrow, and next Monday I start teaching again too, so for the next few months there's not going to be a lot of time for photography.

Ken Ramos wrote:
Egad! Here we go again Laughing

Of course, that busy schedule does have some upsides, depending on your point of view, of course! Laughing

--Rik
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 655
Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As usual Rik, an interesting subject, well done. Thank you too for the informative commentary and extended technical notes. Much appreciated.

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

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Walt.

About the technical info, well, I'm likely to want it later so I have to write it down somewhere or for sure I'll forget it by the next day if not sooner.
(I'm sorry, what was I saying?!)

Putting it in the post makes it easy for me to find, and makes it available to everybody else too. Glad to hear that somebody finds it helpful! Very Happy

--Rik
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
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Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I thought I was the only one using postings as a memory record.
Walt
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