Magnified 164X, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) revealed the morphologic exoskeletal details of a female velvet ant's, Dasymutilla sp., leg joint. As a member of the Phylum Arthropoda, i.e., Arthro = 'jointed', and poda 'leg', this insect is supported by a jointed exoskeleton, thereby, facilitating mobility of all of its body parts. The velvet ant is not really an ant at all, but a wasp, which merely resembles an ant, hence its name. It is a member of the Family, Mutillidae, and the Order, Hymenoptera.Note the presence of sensorial 'hairs' upon the surface of the exoskeleton, which are really not hairs as in the mammalian sense, i.e., composed of keratin, but chitinous extensions composed of the same protein as that of the exoskeleton itself. See PHIL 9889 for a higher magnification of this region.
CDC/ Michael and Paula Smith
December 1, 2012