|Description:||At a low magnification of 211x this scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicted some of the morphologic details found at the distal end of a leg of a carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica. Note the configuration of what is known as the "tarsal claw", used by the bee to grasp objects in its environment while obtaining food, or tunneling a nest. As a member of the Phylum Arthropoda, this insect possessed "jointed legs”, a morphologic characteristic from which the name Arthro from "joint”, and poda from "leg", was derived. One of the leg joints of this bee could be seen in the foreground. Also, note the sensorial "hairs”, or "setae”, on the exoskeletal surface of both the antenna and leg. These hairs are sensitive to changes in the organism's environment including changes in temperature, wind speed and direction, chemical variations, and changes to the physical make-up of its surroundings, i.e., tactile interaction.|
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. As arthropods, Xylocopa virginica 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.