Techniques for investigating the anatomy of the ant visual system

Fiorella Ramirez-Esquivel, Willi A. Ribi, Ajay Narendra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article outlines a suite of techniques in light microscopy (LM) and electron microscopy (EM) which can be used to study the internal and external eye anatomy of insects. These include traditional histological techniques optimized for work on ant eyes and adapted to work in concert with other techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These techniques, although vastly useful, can be difficult for the novice microscopist, so great emphasis has been placed in this article on troubleshooting and optimization for different specimens. We provide information on imaging techniques for the entire specimen (photo-microscopy and SEM) and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. We highlight the technique used in determining lens diameters for the entire eye and discuss new techniques for improvement. Lastly, we discuss techniques involved in preparing samples for LM and TEM, sectioning, staining, and imaging these samples. We discuss the hurdles that one might come across when preparing samples and how best to navigate around them.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56339
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number129
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017


  • Compound eye
  • Crystalline cone
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Issue 129
  • Lens
  • Light microscopy
  • Ocelli
  • Ommatidium
  • Rhabdom
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Transmission electron microscopy

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