What is this?

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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canonian
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What is this?

Post by canonian »

Image

Allways wanted to do one of these "What is it" posts.
I came across this wonderful structure and texture.
It's common, not very exotic and magnification is 20X.
The droplets are not a part of it. (condensation)
So, have a go: what is this and what does it belong to?

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

It's the finger grip on a fountain pen - the nib's on the right.

canonian
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Post by canonian »

ChrisR wrote:It's the finger grip on a fountain pen - the nib's on the right.
At 20X ? You really must have small fingers....

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Shrimp leg?

canonian
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Post by canonian »

lauriek wrote:Shrimp leg?
It is not aquatic ...

Eric F
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Post by Eric F »

It's part of the ovipositor of a female fruit fly (Tephritidae).

The fruit-stabbing part (the "aculeus" -- pointed at the tip, beyond the photo) is on the right; the broader part, center and left, is the "oviscape" -- an eversible tube, which can unroll (it is partly unrolled now) and extend the length of the whole structure, which pushes the aculeus into the fruit (where an egg is squeezed-out).

The shape of these structures (especially of the aculeus, and the size and pattern of the diamond-shaped scales covering the tube) are important for helping identify different fruit flies.

Rik has shown this very well in this post some years ago.

canonian
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Post by canonian »

Eric F wrote:It's part of the ovipositor of a female fruit fly (Tephritidae)
OMG Eric that was quick! I wasn't sure about the ID, if it was a Sunflower Maggot Fly - Strauzia longipennis or Neotephritis finalis, but your description is spot on.

ChrisR here's the tip that didn't fit the frame and yes, it does resemble a fountain pen.

Image

And here is the fly.
Image

Well gentlemen, it was short but fun to do!

Eric F
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Post by Eric F »

Canonian, sorry to cut your 'what is this' short -- but I was sure that one of the many other entomologists on this site would 'scoop' me!

Nice photo; is your fly from the Netherlands or nearby? If so, I think it may be this fruit fly Tephritis bardanae, which is common in Europe.

canonian
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Post by canonian »

Thank you for ID-ing the fly, Eric.
Was it that obvious? For the top notch entomologists on this site it probably is.
I'm no entomologist but I find entomology fascinating.
I wanted to shoot the spotted wings, saw the ovipositor and was amazed by it.
The wonders of nature...
Last edited by canonian on Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

abpho
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Post by abpho »

That 20:1 shot is amazing. So clear. Well done.
I'm in Canada! Isn't that weird?

Eric F
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Post by Eric F »

I did have a special advantage with this particular subject! My job for many years with the State of California was to identify fruit flies (Tephritidae) and other diptera, looking for dangerous agricultural pests. As I mentioned above, the ovipositor is an important character in helping to identify tephritids.

I have always been fascinated with entomology: there is such incredible diversity, and always so much to learn.

Rylee Isitt
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Post by Rylee Isitt »

Oh my. Once again, a case where the image has such detail to it that it almost looks like a colorized SEM. Excellent shot.

How on Earth did you manipulate, clean, and mount this?! I could only imagine doing this with a vertical setup, and even then...

Sneeze once and it's game over.

canonian
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Post by canonian »

Rylee Isitt wrote:..Excellent shot...vertical setup...
Thank you Rylee for your kind words. Yes , I do use a vertical setup.
The insect was fairly clean to begin with and mounting was not a problem, as you can see in the overview shot , I place it on a microscope slide.
Once properly staged, I keep my distance and shoot with a remote control. Usually the specimen is also shielded by a dome-shaped diffusor.
Because we live in an old house with wooden floors, I bolted my workplace to the wall, floating free from the floor to prevent vibrations.
I do most of my stacking late at night when wife and kid and neighbours are in bed and the house is quiet. :)

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