Under a moderately high magnification of 646x, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted some of the ultrastructural morphologic details seen at the distal tip of the stinger apparatus of an unidentified hymenopteran insect found deceased in the Decatur, Georgia suburbs. The Order of Hymenoptera includes bees, wasps, ants, and sawflies. Judging from the smooth nature of this stinger shaft, this was probably something other than a honeybee, whose stinger shaft would have displayed more defined, broader barbs at the distal tip. The smoother nature of this stinger shaft, would have allowed the stinger to be easily extracted without it becoming inextricably embedded when it was penetrating a victim's skin, as is the case with the Western honeybee, Apis mellifera.At this magnification, note that the shaft is covered with what seems to be debris that had been picked up from the insects environmental surroundings.
CDC/ Janice Carr; Oren Mayer
December 2, 2012
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