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Mites Under the Microscope
Mites have wide-ranging appetites. Of special interest are mite species that feed on crop plants--often at the farmer's expense!
To view and identify them, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have begun using a low-temperature scanning electron microscope (shown at right). It's known as an LT-SEM, for short.
Photo: Eric Erbe, foreground, and Ron Ochoa, right, background, sit at their LT-SEM console with mite images displayed.
It works by shooting an invisible beam of electrons onto a mite specimen. The electrons that bounce off its body are then recorded on a special cathode ray tube similar to those in television sets.
The resulting image--especially with "artificial" color added--can be quite startling. Click here for page three and see for yourself.