Posted by: scrubmuncher | October 16, 2012

Magnificent mouthparts

The Stenus rove beetles have featured in a couple of other posts, but the photos below are worthy of revisiting these fascinating little insects. I had these images done by a chap who has a SEM in his converted garage. These are only small versions of the original images, bu if you click on them you’ll see the detail is incredible, especially the last one that shows the tip of the beetle’s labium with numerous sensory structures. These adhesive surfaces stick fast to the prey, yanking it back to the sickle-like mandibles of the beetle as the labium is withdrawn.

Stenus clavicornis with its telescopic labium (poking out from between the mandibles) revealed for the camera (Ross Piper and David Spears).

Stenus clavicornis – close up of the head and labium. Note the cruel mandibles too (Ross Piper and David Spears).

Stenus clavicornis – close-up of the tip of the labium. Just look at how elaborate this tiny structure is (Ross Piper and David Spears).

 

 

 

 

 

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