MicroCT of a Beach Hopper

Wrapping up the fun-filled days this summer? Amidst all the tanning, surfing, and sand-castling, you may be surprised to think about the plethora of life teeming just under the surface! Move around some seaweed and you might see small shrimp-like animals hopping about, but don’t worry, these little crustaceans don’t bite! They are actually Platorchestia platensis, a species of amphipods, important for the breakdown of organic detritus- plant and animal debris along the shore.  Found on beaches across the world, beach dwelling amphipods have a hard outer shell called an exoskeleton that protects them from the harsh conditions of the beach surf and sun, and small gills located on the underside of their body for respiration. Because they are such small creatures their internal anatomy is difficult to study, but with scans such as the one shown here, even the delicate spines and internal muscles can be seen in great detail.

System: SkyScan 1172 High Energy Desktop Micro-CT

Pixel Size: 1.34 microns

Voltage: 49kV

Current: 200uA

Rotation step: 0.2 degrees

Oversized scan segments: 5

Software: NRecon, CTVox

Location: Micro Photonics Imaging Lab, Allentown PA

Users:  Jennifer W. Lenihan (Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Boston, MA) and Rajaram Manoharan (Micro Photonics Imaging Lab, Allentown, PA)



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