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Animated crawling mite.

Continued from page 1

 
 

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 of ARS scientists Eric Erbe and Ron Ochoa sitting at an electron microscope.Photo of ARS scientists Eric Erbe and Ron Ochoa sitting at an electron microscope.Photo of ARS scientists Eric Erbe and Ron Ochoa sitting at an electron microscope.Photo of ARS scientists Eric Erbe and Ron Ochoa sitting at an electron microscope.

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.

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