Latest News from BPCA

05 September 2017

New imaging technique reveals amazing pictures of live insects

Scientists from Western University in Ontario, Canada have developed a new way of photographing living insects with stunning results.

The problem with taking pictures of insects is they move. And if they don’t move, they’re probably deceased, which is less than ideal for getting accurate pictures. Magnetic resonance imaging and x-rays require a still participant for accurant detailed images.

Scientists have trialled a new technique where carbon dioxide is used to put insects into suspended animation for up to seven hours - without any lasting damage to the specimen. We think the results are amazing.

3D reconstruction of a Colorado potato beetle (L. decemlineata) (Credit: Danny Poinapen, Western University, Canada)

3D-CT reconstruction of live anesthetized armyworm  (Credit: Danny Poinapen, Western University, Canada)

Researchers Danny Poinapen and Joanna Konopka from Western University developed the pioneering technique where a steady stream of carbon dioxide is pumped into a chamber temporarily immobilising the insect within. The gas induces a state of hypoxia meaning scientists can take high-resolution 3D scans of live bugs using X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT).

We can’t wait to see some of the UK pests photographed with this new technique. Watch this space for an update when we get our hands on more images!

The details of this work have been published in the science journal BMC Zoology.


Scott-Johnstone-Staff-bubbleScott Johnstone
Content and Communications Officer

30 August 2017  |  BPCA Online

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