Today I had my first session learning to use the SEM (scanning electron microscope). It was a blast! I spent the past week preparing some egg and caterpillar samples. I took an Acronicta afflicta specimen, cut it up (because the caterpillar was too large to fit into the scope whole), and came up with a protocol for fixing, drying, and mounting the pieces. I really enjoy the step-by-step precision and organization in the electron microscopy lab. There is something about wearing gloves and pouring things from one vial to another in a fume hood that feels so… science-y.
This round was just for practice, I will be gathering more critical specimens to image throughout the rest of the semester. Here is one of my favorite views, a caterpillar’s proleg, or “fake foot”. These are the fleshy nubs that look like legs on the abdomen of a caterpillar. They have hooks…
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