|Description:||Under a magnification of only 28X, this scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicted some of the exoskeletal morphologic characteristics displayed on the head region of an unidentified beetle found deceased in the suburbs of Decatur, Georgia. In this particular view, the proximal aspect of what is believed to be one of the insect’s two maxillary palps is displayed, at a point where the palp attaches to the maxilla. The palps act both as feelers, which means that they’re sensorial in nature, as well as organs of food manipulation. The beetle is able to use these palps to position its foods in the most opportune position for chewing, and grasping with its mandibles. See PHIL 10062, 10063, and 10064, for addition views of this structure.|
As a member of the Class Insecta, and Phylum Arthropoda, this beetle was supported by its jointed exoskeleton, from which its Phylum, Arthro = jointed, and poda = legs, devired its name.
As arthropods, beetles possess an exoskeleton composed of chitin, which is a molecule made up of bound units of acetylglucosamine, joined in such a way as to allow for increased points at which hydrogen bonding can occur. In this way chitin provides increased strength, and durability as an exoskeletal foundation.
.Note the numerous “hairs” on the palp’s surface. Known as “setae”, these are sensory filaments composed of the same material as the insect’s exoskeleton. These structures are sensorial in nature, and are known as “setae”, providing the insect with information about its environment including thermal changes, changes in wind direction, and the presence of chemicals such as poisons or pheromones.