Insect Stingers - Active Venom Delivery Systems

Understanding the honey bee stinger

The honey bee stinger is an autonomous micro-injection system. It is comprised of a venom sac, a series of cuticular plates and muscles that pump the venom and a stinging apparatus made up of three separate piercing parts that fit together to form the venom canal.

We are working to understand the biomechanics of the stinger, how it pumps, penetrates tissue and delivers fluid through a series of different approaches. We use a range of microscopy techniques, high speed filming, computer modelling and 3D visualisation.

Microscopy

Microscopy techniques such as SEM and light microscopy help us understand the functional anatomy of the stinger.

High speed filming

High speed filming through a stereomicroscope helps us understand the pumping behaviour and operation of the valves within the stinger.

Computational simulations and analytical models

Modelling penetration of the stinger piercing parts using different geometries helps us understand the tissue penetration behaviour of the stinger.

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