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Scanning Electron Micrographs of Insects

Honey Bee - Apis mellifera
Electron micrograph of honey bee head

Anterior-lateral view of head of a worker honey bee showing oval compound eyes, filliform antennae and complex mouthparts. The mouthparts of bees are adapted for chewing and lapping.

(Approx. X12)


Electron micrograph of honey bee mouthparts

The honey bee mouthparts are adapted to a lapping mode of feeding in which liquid food adhering to a 'tongue' or labial glossae is transferred from flower to mouth. Image right shows top of mouthparts. The two triangular structures in the centre of image are the mandibles. Below protrudes the elongate and fused labial glossae which forms a hairy tongue.

(Approx. X50)

Electron micrograph of honey bee tongue

The lower part of the elongate fused labial glossae is seen in this image. The glossae or tongue (rough structure in lower part of image) is surrounded by the maxillary galeae (smooth areas at top) and the labial palps (one is protruding to the left) forming a tubular proboscis containing a food canal. When feeding the honey bee dips its tongue into the nectar which adheres and the the tongue is retracted so that adhering liquid is carried into the space between the galeae and labial palps.
(Approx. X90)

Electron micrograph of pollen on honey bee head

Honey bee head - same area as in 2nd image centre top - showing pollen grains adhering to hairs - bees facilitate transfer of pollen from one plant to another.

(Approx. X700)

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