This is, of course, the wood eating termite.
|At the very top of the plate, there's the termite!|
Unfortunately, the soil eating termite, Percapritermes nitobei could not be caught. So my work this summer will be restricted to analyzing the gut bacteria of N. takasagoensis.
To get at the gut microbes, the first thing I learned in lab was how to dissect out their gut. Here's the procedure:
1) Hold termite with tweezers by the section between the head and body.
2) With a second tweezers, pull off the head.
|Removing the head is a quick way to kill the termite and keep it from moving around...|
3) Turn the termite over and hold it by the butt end.
4) With the other tweezers, carefully and very slowly pull on the outer cuticle.
5) If all goes well, the gut will remain whole and the outer cuticle will come off.
Here's my first dissected gut!
|The dark spot at the top is the biggest section of the gut, the P3 region.|
To look at the microbes, all you do next is rip apart the gut and look under the microscope!
Next up, micromanipulation!
Photo shoot of four different districts of Tokyo: