|Description:||Under a relatively low magnification of only 125x, this scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicted some of the ultrastructural morphologic features displayed on the surface of a carpenter bee's, Xylocopa virginica head. This particular bee was found deceased on the grounds of the Decatur, Georgia suburbs, an area where these insects are quite common. Carpenter bees can be quite a nuisance, for they are well known as wood-borers, and can create many unsightly holes in a home's wooden components.|
This view features a close-up perspective of the attachment of one of the bee's two antennae. Each antenna is composed of three regions: the "pedicel" attaches the antenna to the head, the "scape", which connects the pedicel to the third region, or"flagellum", which is usually composed of a number of sections.
The "feathery" structures are known as "setae", and though they appear frail, the material from which they are constructed, known as "chitin", is the same proteinaceous material that created its tough exoskeletal exterior. These setae, as well as the antennae, are highly sensorial in nature, and transmit changes in the bee's environment such as fluctuations in temperature, chemistry, and wind speed and direction.