Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Ant Nano Gigapans!

More Ants are on their way! The Nano Gigapan project has received some ant samples from colonies at the California Academy of Sciences which are in the process of being imaged. Seeing as there are over 30,000 species of ants in the world, we could have a new ant image every day for the next 83 years (funding permitting, but looking at NASA's latest LCROSS mission it does seem like they want to minimize long term funding, apparently by crashing things into celestial bodies). Luckily the Cal Academy only gave us three ant samples to start out with, and luckily they're not unique and highly prized type specimens seeing as how I have large hands and ants are small and breakable.
Here is the first Nano Gigapan of these three samples, which were given to us by Brian Fisher, an entomologist at the Cal Academy. This image is composed of 208 pictures taken with a scanning electron microscope. The ant is magnified 500x.

View the full image at
This ant is from the
species Proceratium MG03 which is thought to be a specialized predator of spider eggs.

And here is another Nano GigaPan of a different ant specimen given to us, this is just a head shot. It is composed of 132 pictures magnified 500x. This ant is from the species Strumigenys vazimba. These ants use their large head muscles to snap their mandibles close at high speed.

View the full image at

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