Natural World

Amazing antennae of insects

    The antennae of Eterusia aedea, a species of moth.
    A moth belonging to the Eterusia aedea species.
    The net-winged beetle.
    The pleasing fungus beetle. The secret of insects’ survival has been their ability to use each of their body structures for a variety of purposes, and the antennae are no exception.
    Micrographs of the antennae of female and (below) male Aenasius bambawalei.
    Pygospila tyres, another species of moth, found in the forests of India and South-East Asia.
    Antennae shapes vary, and different styles within a particular shape are not uncommon. Here, feathery antennae in the moth Lymantria sp. (left). There are specialised structures called sensilla in the antennae that are responsible for detecting odours. The antennae are the sensors for the insect to monitor its physical and chemical environment.
    Feathery antennae in the moths Perina nuda.
    Parasitic wasps sport ornate antennae. Eulophid sp. (above) and Neocladia narendrani, whose features may be seen only under a microscope, are two examples of species with elaborately structured antennae.
    Neocharitopus orientalis, male, and (below) Neocharitopus orientalis, female. Males of moths and parasitic wasps, in many instances, have antennae that are more elaborate and ornate than those of females.
    Ichneumon wasp. Certain species of ichneumoid and braconid wasps use anatennae to locate their prey.
    Hawk moth, Parum colligata. Hovering hawk moths use their antennae to collect information, especially when visual inputs are not available.
    Cricket nymph. From a mechanical point of view insect antennae are like cantilever beams.
    Long-horned beetle (above) and cricket nymph (left). From a mechanical point of view , insect antennae are like cantilever beams. A longer antenna, such as those seen in the long-horned beetles, in cockroaches or in field crickets, must sag if they are cantilever beams; but they do not. Long-horned beetle.
    Club-shaped antennae of Popinjay, or Stibocjiona nicea.
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