False-coloured scanning electron micrograph of a honeybee. The bee has a hairy thorax and segmented abdomen, a pair of double wings and three pairs of segmented legs. Each leg has a different 'tool' designed for a specific function to assist in the collection and transport of pollen to the hive.
In order to preserve the fine detail on the bee's body this sample was not imaged in the conventional way. Normally, samples are coated in a fine layer of gold and imaged under high vacuum, However, this honeybee was imaged uncoated and under 'environmental conditions', resulting in the fluffy texture seen here.
Bees are important pollinators and play a crucial role in maintaining our environment, promoting the growth of crops and flowers many of which directly impact on our own health and wellbeing. The honeybee's complex flight pattern is also helping scientists to understand more about the how the brain works.
2011 Wellcome Image Award winner. Wellcome Image Awards 2011.