At a higher magnification of 1621x, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) ) revealed the ornately festooned tip of an Anopheles gambiae mosquito's proboscis. Seen in the field of view is actually the sheath that covered the pair of the needle-sharp "stylets", which together are known as the "fascicle". The larger of the two stylets, known as the "labrum", when viewed in cross-section takes on the shape of an inverted "V", and acts as a gutter, which directs the ingested host blood towards the insect's mouth. The hair-like structures are known as "setae", and are really extensions of the insect's exoskeletal, chitinous covering. These setae act as sensory organs, transmitting impulses indicating changes in the organism's environment.
CDC/ Dr. Paul Howell; Janice Carr
December 4, 2012
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