Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dissections and a Crop

I'm taking an insect morphology class this semester, so I've been doing a lot of dissections. I know my way around an insect so much better than I did before, and I'm getting to the point of being quite comfortable with all the tools used for dissections. Now I can be fancy when I'm cutting and tugging at the insect's body.

In today's lab, I dissected a honey bee to observe its heart, which is located dorsally on the body. To get there, I cut away the ventral abdominal plates, exposing the guts. I was met with this scene:

You can see a few things in this photo. There are silvery air sacs along the edges of the abdomen, the exposed stinger at the distal end (i.e. the butt), and you can see the gut taking up most of the room in the abdomen. In particular, you can see the crop: the bulbous, slightly golden part of the foregut, where honey is stored. It's also called the "honey stomach."

Obviously, I didn't want to waste the honey by throwing it away after my dissection.

That drop of honey was the freshest honey I had ever tasted. It was delicious!

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