Moth portrait

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

Moderators: rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S., Pau

Charles Krebs
Posts: 5865
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Moth portrait

Post by Charles Krebs »

This small moth was attracted to the light by my front door. While rather nondescript... brown, narrow wing profile (folded round body) when resting, about 15mm long, what caught my attention was the head, with it's scale covered palps extending forward. Can't provide an ID, but my best guess for now is something in the family/subfamily Pyralidae/Crambinae.

Olympus 2X Plan FL, 1.67 NFK photoeyepiece, Canon 350D. 49 images stacked.
Image

Olympus 4X S Plan Apo, 1.67 NFK photoeyepiece, Canon 350D. 110 images stacked.
Image

Bruce Williams
Posts: 1120
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:41 pm
Location: Northamptonshire, England
Contact:

Post by Bruce Williams »

Brilliant posting Charles - once again I found myself just STARING at the detail!

The probiscus appear to be covered in minute "cross ply" striations somewhat reminiscent of those you find in muscle tissue. May perhaps be involved with the process of extension and coiling?

Bruce

Charles Krebs
Posts: 5865
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Post by Charles Krebs »

Hi Bruce... I had tried to do a stack of just the proboscis, had a few problems so I didn't post it. But since you asked about this I will add it here. It is interesting. Perhaps I should try Wim's clove oil clearing, and do higher mag shot with crossed polarizers. It would be nice to see what internal structures (if any) are revealed. But the outside it quite interesting as well.

Image

gpmatthews
Posts: 1040
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:54 am
Location: Horsham, W. Sussex, UK
Contact:

Post by gpmatthews »

Quite interesting!... Quite interesting!!!

- once again, wonderful shots, Charlie, out of this world
Graham

Though we lean upon the same balustrade, the colours of the mountain are different.

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 23501
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

These are inspiring images, Charlie!

I mean that literally.

I took one long hard look at your third pic, said to myself "I've never noticed those before!", and was inspired to scurry off to my collection of spare moth parts to put a proboscis under the scope. :lol:

What prompted that sudden activity are those large cylindrical projections on the inner turn of the proboscis. (I use the term "large" in its relative sense, of course. They're a lot larger than the bristles along the rest of the proboscis. :wink: )

So off I went, pulled out a noctuid moth (another of the Autographa's, most likely), and popped it under a 10X objective.

And you know what? There's not a trace of any such structure! Ribs yes, cylindrical projections no.

Quick scan of Google images for "moth proboscis" finds good SEM pictures here (with no such projections), here (maybe yes, maybe no), and here (definitely with).

I have no idea what those projections are for, or why some moths would have them, some not. So sometimes it's not true that you can learn a lot by just looking -- but you sure can get some insight about what you don't know!

Thanks again for the pictures! :D

--Rik

Charles Krebs
Posts: 5865
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Post by Charles Krebs »

Rik... I took the frames form the stack that "dealt" with that part and ran just them. Then I cropped to the pertinent section. I've put it here:
http://www.krebsmicro.com/forumpix/mothprobsect.jpg
As so often happens , when you look even closer they become more complex than the first impression.

Ken Ramos
Posts: 7208
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:12 pm
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

Post by Ken Ramos »

This may be off the wall, but maybe all moths have them but they are not physically the same in all moths. Could they be something akin to taste buds? :-k Hey, I'm just guessing :smt102 :lol: Absolutely stunning images Charlie :D

Something else I notice too, they all have a radiate design, six radials on each cylinder. I would speculate that there are also at least one or maybe more, pairs of microtubules per radial and possibly one pair within the center of the cylinders, therefore giving them structure and movement. :-k

piotr
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Post by piotr »

Stunning images, very rich details and beautiful colors. It looks like the head is partially covered with scales. Are the scales similar to these found on wings?

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 23501
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

Charles Krebs wrote:Rik... I took the frames form the stack that "dealt" with that part and ran just them. Then I cropped to the pertinent section. I've put it here:
http://www.krebsmicro.com/forumpix/mothprobsect.jpg
As so often happens , when you look even closer they become more complex than the first impression.
Very very interesting...thanks!
--Rik

Bruce Williams
Posts: 1120
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:41 pm
Location: Northamptonshire, England
Contact:

Post by Bruce Williams »

Incredible images!

Now you guys probably know this anyway, but:

....according to my Complete Guide to British Butterflies, "A butterfly (moth) does not chew and therefore has no mandibles; the probiscus takes the place of the mouth, and this consists of two tube-shaped structures attached to each other in such a way that they form a third tube between them through which the butterfly (moth) sucks up nectar and other fluids....".

Looking closely at your second posting and your uploaded image you can (maybe) see evidence for the two part structure mentioned in the above extract.

In your second image there appears to be (1 or 2) darker three-pronged object near the end of the probiscus that I cant see in the very close-up pic (perhaps just loose scales?).

Bruce
Last edited by Bruce Williams on Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

Wim van Egmond
Posts: 826
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:28 am
Location: Berkel en Rodenrijs, the Netherlands
Contact:

Post by Wim van Egmond »

Hello Charlie! Brilliant images. I wonder what was wrong with the close up of the tongue? it is super!

I also wanted to compliment you with the springtail. It gives a view we have never seen before. That is the great thing about stacking. I will start stacking again when it the weather becomes better :)

Do try the clove oil trick! It will take more than a week in order to make the chitin clearer. I am not sure if the inside tongue will reveal anything intersting but it is worth a try!

The clove oil does not make teh body parts softer. So you have to cut and remove the parts.

best regards,

Wim

Charles Krebs
Posts: 5865
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Post by Charles Krebs »

Ken... The six "flute" construction is intriguing. One would think their purpose is to make feeding more efficient. Maybe they just "capture" more fluid and hold it by capillary action, or maybe there are central tubules in them..??... we'll have to get Bernhard to make a cross-section of a moth tongue. :wink:

Piotr... didn't even compare the scales on the palps to wing scales. I need to take another look.

Bruce... no, I didn't know that. Thanks for adding that information. And yes, there are a couple of loose scales near the center of the spiral.

Wim... It's OK for most of it, but the part that bothered me was on the coiled proboscis (at the top) near where the scales cover it. I know you, and anyone else who has tried stacking has experienced this difficulty... but I'll explain it briefly for those considering giving stacking a try. There is a relatively large distance from the scales to the proboscis. So in the images when the proboscis is in focus, the scales are extremely out-of-focus and "expand" in size, becoming large, obscuring, "blobs". This prevents the camera from "seeing" and recording any detail for that part of the proboscis. Sometimes it is easy to "fix" with a little judicious "Photoshopping", in this case it wasn't."

Wim van Egmond
Posts: 826
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:28 am
Location: Berkel en Rodenrijs, the Netherlands
Contact:

Post by Wim van Egmond »

Now I see, but it does not trouble me. Often these blurry areas give the image a dreamlike quality. :)

There are always artefacts with stacking. But it would not be any fun if it was too easy! :)

Wouldn't it help to adjust the amount of magnification in the settings of helicon?

I also sometimes do the stacking in 2 stages. I stack the stuff that is in front and than the stuff that is in the back. I combine them in two layers in photoshop and use an opacity mask. In this case you could move the scales a bit more downwards so they would overlap the blurry area. But perhaps it is much more work this way.

One of the tricks that are realy helpful (just in case some of you have not thought about it yet) is to make a separate image of the background that you can use to remove the light halos around the subject.

Charlie, I hope you don't mind that I think aloud about this in your posting, but I am typing this on my new home computer, first time I can do this at home. I can't post anything yet so I have to hitch hike:)

I wonder how you narcotise the insects. In the past I used ethyl acetate to make them, how should I put it, permanently docile. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethyl_acetate

I ran out of it but I think I have to buy some. I nows use the freezer. But this has several dissadvantages. It takes time for them to warm up. You get droplets of condensation. And perhaps it also distorts the insects.

I would prefer to have a narcortising agent. I think for the stacking with many images there are not many options other than killing but it would be nice (especially for the insects) to have some other options.

Enough of the small talk!

Wim

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 23501
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

Wim, about the anaesthesia, see discussion near the end of this old post (with awesome pictures at the start!)

http://www.photomacrography1.net/forum/ ... php?t=5461 .

I did buy one of those CO2 dusters, intending to use it for this purpose, but so far I have ended up using it a lot more to remove dust and loose scales! Maybe I don't have good technique yet, or maybe I've been trying to use it on insects that are resistant to CO2. I have read that there is quite a lot of variation between different kinds of insects.

--Rik

MacroLuv
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:36 pm
Location: Croatia

Post by MacroLuv »

Outstanding pictures Charles! :shock:
It looks like he has some kind of tentacles at the end part of the proboscis.
Never seen something like that before. :smt023
Guys, how to use an old good whiskey for anaesthesia purposes? :lol:
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic