STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Kissing bug nymph compound eye, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Each compound eye is made up of numerous simple eyes called ommatidia. Each ommatidium sends a signal to the insect's brain, which combines the thousands of images to form a mosaic view of the world. The image is not sharp but is excellent at detecting movement. Kissing bugs (subfamily Triatominae), also known as assassin bugs, are most common in the Americas. Most of the 130 or more species are haematophagous (feed on blood). They are so called as they often bite around the mouth, which they are attracted to by the odour of the breath of a sleeping host. A piercing rostrum (feeding tube) is used to suck up blood. All triatomine species are potential vectors of the Chagas disease parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Magnification: x60 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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