Heterospilus sp., head & compound eye, Costa Rica

Here are some shots from my training session this morning at the Beckman Institute‘s Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).  I haven’t used SEM for years- wow!  Great fun.  Click on each image to enlarge.

Heterospilus sp. mesosoma

Heterospilus sp., ovipositor

For contrast, here’s a photo of a wasp in the same genus taken with my standard Canon macro gear:

Heterospilus sp. Costa Rica, taken with a Canon 20D dSLR & macro lens

We’ll be deciding over the coming months which type of images to use for our project.  As you can see, there are some advantages to the SEM: crisp, clean images that give much better detail about the the structure of the insect.  But there are drawbacks as well.  SEMs don’t look very much like what people see under a regular microscope, they lack color, and they are expensive. Hmmm…