Small World Art

Butterfly Proboscis

Butterfly Proboscis
Image: Jochen Schroeder

The 2016 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Contest winners were announced last month and once again feature compelling images of insects that double as art.  Jochen Schroeder makes excellent use of modern stacking technology to give fine detail while maintaining depth of field seen  in this image.

The facets of the compound eye can be seen at the upper right.  The butterfly head is covered by bright orange hairs that contrast with the black of the proboscis giving the image a compelling color contrast.

The butterfly proboscis is formed by the fusion of elongated left and right mouthparts that are cemented together after emergence from the pupa.  The proboscis, which is much longer than the head, can be uncoiled by muscles to insert deep into flowers to reach drinks of nectar plants provide for pollinators.   The mouthparts contain the protein, resilin, which makes them flexible and return to their resting shape, a neat coil.   The coil is much less awkward for flight than a long dangling proboscis might be.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Art, Biomaterials, by jjneal, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Small World Art

  1. Pingback: Small World Art – Entomo Planet

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