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On the environmental scanning electron microscope for taxonomic purposes

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Realism, resolution, and portrayal of spatial relationships are three conditions for iconic representations in formal taxonomic descriptions. Hand drawing is a painstaking and time-consuming technique. The environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) is an alternative that can provide detailed images without damaging the specimen, thus allowing it to be used for further study either in light microscopy or molecular analysis. In this work, we evaluate the suitability of ESEM for basic taxonomic study with specimens of two arthropods groups: water mites and bathynelids. The ESEM provides enough resolution to classify even to the species level. Different kinds of curatorial adhesive strips were used with satisfactory results. We foresee that the ESEM will be a common taxonomic tool in the near future.
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Keywords: Bathynellacea; ESEM; Hydrachnidia; taxonomy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC), Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006-Madrid, Spain

Publication date: 01 March 2005

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