Submitted to: American Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/27/2008
Publication Date: 12/31/2008
Citation: Buffington, M.L., Gates, M.W. 2008. Advanced imaging techniques II: using a compound microscope for photographing point-mount specimens. American Entomologist. 54(4):222-224.
Interpretive Summary: Effective illustration enhances the scientific content of any work on the classification of insects. The combination of descriptive text and clear, color images help users of the information understand the species being described. Extremely small insects, on the order of 0.5-1.5mm adult length, can confound this process. We have developed a system for photographing such small insects; this method is both fast and affordable. This system will be extremely useful to systematic entomologists, extension agents, and biological control workers that need to photograph small insects.
Technical Abstract: Digital imaging technology has revolutionized the practice photographing insects for scientific study. Herein described are lighting and mounting techniques designed for imaging micro Hymenoptera. Techniques described here are applicable to all small insects, as well as other invertebrates. The key to these techniques is the correct balance of light intensity and light dispersal. Once this balance is met, hymenopteran species as small as 0.75 mm can be readily imaged at a resolution suitable for publication. Surprisingly, a compound microscope can be used to image whole, un-mounted insects in much the same way a stereomicroscope is used with spectacular results.