At a low magnification of only 46X, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showed the head region from an anterior view of a female velvet ant, Dasymutilla sp.. Note the two laterally positioned eyes which are partially visible at the topmost area of the photograph, but it's the two anteriorly-placed antennae with their rounded "scapes" that are the most apparent head appendages. Like the antennae, the numerous 'hairs' or setae adorning almost all of the insect's exterior surfaces, act as sensory structures, supplying the organism with information about its environmental parameters. The jointed legs, from which the insects Phylum Arthropoda is derived, i.e., Arthro = 'jointed', and poda 'leg', are also partially visible, emanating from the thoracic region.
CDC/ Michael and Paula Smith
December 1, 2012
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