Visionary Digital Images
The Oregon State Arthropod Collection has recently acquired a state of
the art Digital Imaging system and has begun to generate high
resolution images of our insect to share online. We've only just begun,
but our aim is to make it possible to view our entire holdings over the
internet via these images.
Below is a selection of some of our first images - each is a whopping
50-60MB in size, a prohibitively large size for delivering quickly over
the internet via your typical browser. As a result, we are using
software similar to that used on large mapping programs, that allows
users to zoom into portions of the image. Eventually, the original,
full size high resolution images, will also be made available for
We hope you enjoy these first glimpses of some of OSAC's specimens.
Use your mouse or pointing device to zoom into each of the images
below to see them in detail. Please note, because of their large size,
The colorful specimen above belongs to the genus Agrias - a
group of butterflies found throughout South and Central America.
Although most of OSAC's collection consists of species native to the
Pacific Northwest, we do possess examples of species from other parts
of the world - which allow local entomologists the opportunity to view
biodiversity from around the planet. These foreign species also aid in
the initial identification or confirmation of exotic and potentially
invasive species that have recently arrived here in the PNW from
elsewhere on the planet.
Atlides halesus - OSAC- Adam Martinez 2008
A local butterfly of equal if not greater beauty, is the Great Purple Hairstreak: Atlides halesus. Although
not endangered, this rarely seen butterfly is of conservation concern
given that its survival depends on the existence of the mistletoe found
growing on local oak trees. Many of the native Oak savannahs of the PNW
have disappeared due to human development, and fire suppression which
favors ecological succession into Douglas fir forest.
If you zoom down on the metallic wings, you'll see the individual
scales - like bird feathers - that give butterflies and moths their
fanciful color patterns. In metallic butterflies, the metallic colors
are produced by microscopic surface sculpture on each scale that like
the minute ridges on a prismatic CD-ROM, reflect color back to your eye
in specific wavelengths, in this case: blue.
Cimbex sp. - OSAC - Adam Martinez, 2008
Cimbex are primitive wasps, commonly referred to as sawflies.
Unlike the typical wasps and hornets you might know, these wasps cannot
sting, do not live in large colonies, and their larvae look and act
much like caterpillars - feeding on the leaves of various plants. A
distinctive feature of Cimbex wasps, and one which will distinguish
them from bumblebees, is their clubbed antennae.
Cryptocercus clevelandi - OSAC - Adam Martinez, 2008
If the creature above gives you the creepy crawlies - its because
you probably recognize it as a cockroach - a member of the order:
Blattodea. However, this cockroach is not a pest of human habitation.
In fact the genus Cryptocercus, is a fascinating
group of cockroaches that are more closely related to termites than to
other cockroaches. Before you conclude that the notion of a
termite-cockroach sounds like the ultimate in B-movie Insect Monsters,
you should know that Cryptocercus does not like structural timber; actually it only likes moist already rotten wood!
Like primitive termites, these cockroaches live in rotten wood, and
digest cellulose using endosymbiotic protozoans that inhabit their
digestive tract. Another interesting fact about this creature is that
like the primitive Coelocanth, cryptocercid roaches are relicts,
species of much older lineages that have survived despite the fact that
the majority of their relatives have gone extinct. Today only a handful
of species can be found on earth in a few healthy forests of temperate
China, the Appalachian Mountains and Southern Oregon/Northern
Gelastocoris sp. - OSAC - Adam Martinez 2008
Toad bugs, aka Gelastocoris bugs, are
relatively common along the shorelines of freshwater bodies of water.
You might not have noticed them because of their small size (this
specimen is only about 5 millimeters from tip to tip) - or because
their mottled, blotchy coloration and habit of sitting relatively
still, can makes them hard to see. However, if your willing to get your
knees wet, and you kneel down near the edge of many streams, lakes and
ponds here in the PNW, you're likely to spot these little predators.
They aren't named 'toad bugs' merely because of those big buggy eyes,
but they also hop!
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Metrius sp. - OSAC - Adam Martinez 2008
This sleek black beetle is local ground beetle of the family Carabidae; it is Metrius contractus.
Ground beetles are incredibly common here in the PNW, but this one is
unusual, and not as commonly encountered. When irritated, as by a would
be predator (or beetle collector), this beetle defends itself by
releasing two chemicals into a special internal organ which creates a
chemical reaction generating boiling hot liquid - the reaction chamber
opens on the insect's abdomen - and explodes with an audible 'pssst' -
startling and spraying a would-be predator with a pungent, chemical
mixture that irritates mucosa membranes.
Okanagana sp. - OSAC - Adam Martinez 2008
Okanagana is the formal name for one of our larger cicadas - the
creatures we hear during the dog-days of summer droning/calling high in
the branches of our trees. The Pacific Northwest is home to a number of
different types of cicada. The 17 or 13 year periodic cicada Magicicada)
that appears in mass certain years at various sites in the Eastern US -
does not occur here, but our native species, which emerge annually,
have much the same biology: juveniles live underground in the soil
surrounding trees and shrubs - they feed on the roots of those plants
throughout the year and eventually dig their way up to the surface with
forelimbs perfect for tunneling through soil and climbing vegetation -
once up in the air, they caste off their final nymphal skin - emerging
as a winged adult..
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Polyphylla decemlineata - OSAC - Adam Martinez 2008
This is the Ten-lined June Beetle - a relatively large
and showy member of the Scarab beetle family: Scarabaeidae - a not so
distant relative to the sacred scarab beetles of the Egyptians. Not all
scarab beetles are dung beetles, in fact the majority of scarab beetles
feed on plants both as larvae (known as white grubs) and as adults.
Several species appear in large numbers and can be pests in
agriculture, forest and turf grass settings. The adult Ten-lined June
Beetle feeds on the needles of our native conifers and the larvae feed
on the roots of a number of tree species and can be of economic
importance in tree nurseries here in the PNW. The adults, which emerge
mid-summer are attracted to lights and it's not uncommon to find them
on window and door screens at night or early in the morning.
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Promachus nigripes- OSAC- Adam Martinez 2008
This elongate flying insect is a robber fly - a member
of the family Asilidae. It belongs to the true flies: Diptera; the same
group that contains more commonly seen flies such as houseflies,
deerflies, blackflies and mosquitoes. Asilid flies generally do not
bother people, in fact they spend most of their time hunting for
smaller flies (such as deerflies and houseflies) to feed on. There are
many species of robber flies here in the PNW some of which have very
Scaphinotus marginatus- OSAC- Adam Martinez 2008
Similar to Metrius (image above) - this beetle is
a member of the ground beetle family (Carabidae). This is one of our
more spectacular native PNW ground beetles. Scaphinotus beetles are
primarily snail-eaters, beetles which spend their evenings (they are
nocturnal) running along the ground and up into trees in search of
snails to feed on. They will scavenge other food sources (dead insects,
fallen fruit, etc), but so important to their biology is the diet of
snails that over the course of their evolution, these beetles have
acquired a suite of characters specifically related to finding,
subduing and feeding on snails. If you zoom into the head of this
beetle, you'll notice that the forward edge of the head (between the
eyes and above the mouthparts) is deeply notched - this notch
presumably allows the beetle to better cut through the snail shell
(like a can opener). The palpi (the short antenna-like appendages near
the mouthparts) are shaped like 'vacuum cleaner nozzles', which like a
vacuum nozzle, the beetles scan the soil as they run...sensory organs
on these palpi are clued in on the chemicals associated with snail
slime; the tell-tale tracks left by snails and slugs as they traverse
the ground. When Scaphinotus picks up a snail trail - it clues in on
the trail like a trolly car on tracks, and follows the trail to its