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Jena Johnson, a research professional in the Department of Entomology, has been interested in photography since graduate school, when she first experimented with a 35mm camera. Over the years, she’s honed her skills in both research and photography, now documenting a variety of insects with a macro lens.
Johnson is the lab manager for entomology professor Michael Strand, who investigates insect physiology, including the gut microbiome of mosquitos. While this Aedes aegypti is better known for spreading yellow fever, through Johnson’s camera, one can appreciate its striking appearance. “They have a beautiful pattern of white scales,” she said.
For some species of mosquitoes, a blood meal is the females’ top priority after emerging and mating. The endocrine process associated with blood feeding is a key interest of the Strand lab. When a female mosquito’s gut fills with blood, like in the photo, it initiates a series of endocrine processes that allow her to reproduce.