A fast and effective method of preparing ants for scanning electron microscopy

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Guerrero, R. . (2022). A fast and effective method of preparing ants for scanning electron microscopy. Intropica, Preprint.


Regardless of the application of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques, suitable preparation of the biological material to be analyzed is of paramount importance. In most ant studies that involve SEM, the ants have been desiccated by the critical-point technique (CPD), but most Dolichoderinae species have thin integuments and therefore tend to collapse easily. To evaluate a new method for potential advantages over the CPD technique, these thin-integument ants were treated with tetramethylsilane (TMS) and then air-dried. The results obtained in this study are presented in scanning microphotographs. Here, I detail a standardized protocol for the preparation of ants with TMS prior to SEM. The TMS technique enables the analysis of almost five to six times as many ants as CPD and is faster, easier, more efficient, and more economical than the CPD method.

Palabras clave

técnicas de secado al aire; Formicidae; análisis morfológico; tetrametilsilano; SEM Air-drying techniques; Formicidae; morphological analysis; Tetramethylsilane; SEM


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