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High-Speed Visualization and Quantification of Ovipositor Insertion

Parasitic wasps probe in substrates to find hosts for egg-laying. They do this by using their ovipositors, slender structures at the end of their abdomen, consisting of multiple elements that slide along each other.

Previous experiments showed that wasps can probe and steer in any direction without changing their body orientation. It appears that they do this by separately controlling the amount and direction of the bending of the ovipositor tip. Whereas the amount of bending correlates with the amount of pro- and retraction of individual elements, it is not clear how they control the bending direction. First stage of the project aims to study this bending mechanism. The project can be further extended to targeted ovipositor insertion or to studying the avoidance capabilities of ovipositors during insertions.

Probing wasp
Probing wasp

For questions or application (incl. CV and letter of motivation), please contact Uros Cerkvenik.

Examiner: Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan L. van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Uros Cerkvenik
Sander Gussekloo
Contact: Uros Cerkvenik (via contact form)
Begin date: 01/05/2017 (variable)
End date: 31/12/2017 (variable)
Credits: 12 ECTS (variable)
For: BSc Biology
Requirements: See thesis description
Used skills: Experimental work with Animals, 2D and/or 3D Motion Analysis, Programming in Matlab/Python