Nature, red in tooth and claw
figureposted on 03.01.2012 by Erika Arnold
Figures are generally photos, graphs and static images that would be represented in traditional pdf publications.
This image was produced with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). It is a highly magnified view of the tarsal claw on a bat fly’s front leg. These flies are obligate ectoparasites of bats and, as an evolutionary group, display an incredibly diverse range of adaptations for life on a bat. In this image, you can see how well these flies can cling to the fur of a moving mammal, and how sensitive they might be to their host’s tiniest movements. I gather information with these SEM photos that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye, and I use it to explore the evolutionary patterns and even the ecology of this unique group.