The bee is ready for its close-up.
For the remarkable new book BEE from Princeton Architectural Press, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher used a high-resolution scanning electron microscope to reveal the gorgeous complexities of honeybee anatomy. Fisher writes that the microscope “presents a realm of structure, design, and pattern at a level of intricacy we are oblivious to in our daily experience.”
At magnifications ranging from 10x to 5000x, the photographs reveal amazing details of the honeybee’s features, down to the hairs that protrude from its compound eyes and the tiny hooks that hold its wings together.
1. Antenna, 130x
A bee’s antenna is packed with thousands of sensory cells. Bees use their antennae to smell, taste, and hear, as well as to detect changes in temperature, wind, and humidity.
These sense organs not only help the bee steer through the outside world, they also help it navigate the social world of the hive. Bees communicate in large part through chemical pheromones, with different odors signaling everything from alarm to an individual bee’s status.
2. Eye, 190x
Each of the honeybee’s compound eyes is made up of thousands of hexagonal, faceted lenses that can detect visible, ultraviolet, and polarized light. Some flowers bear ultraviolet markings, invisible to the human eye, that attract the worker bee and tell her where to land to scoop up nectar or pollen.
The hairs on the honeybee’s eyes also collect grains of pollen.
3. Leg Pollen, 1100x
Here, pollen grains are shown lodged in the pollen basket for safekeeping, anchored by hairs on the bee’s hind leg. Curved hairs hold the pollen pellet in place during flight.
4. Stinger 37x
Behold the stinger, the bee’s most famous feature. Located at the rear of the honeybee’s body, the stinger is actually a modified ovipositor, the organ used for laying eggs.
Bees will only sting in self-defense or to protect the hive, and anyone who has had a run-in with a beehive can testify that it’s an effective defense. If one worker bee senses danger she emits a warning pheromone that summons other bees to the fight.
Posted on Thursday, 22 March
Tagged as: Science Black and White Photography Bee Animals
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