As spotted lanternflies began to ravage the Princeton campus, students were encouraged to stomp them out if found. The student body has responded to this call: a brief stroll through the paved campus walkways reveals the carnage inflicted upon the adult lanterfly population. But few students have taken the time or had the curiosity to examine these critters in detail.
Since my classmates put in the effort to gather a dead lanternfly for examination, I decided to use their sample for my own investigation. I took photos of the brown and the red parts of the wing. What strikes me about these images, especially the brown one, is how topographical the wing seems. It could just be a trick of the light, but the vein running down the middle of the wing looks like a river forking in a canyon.
I’m glad we now have these Foldscopes for personal use, which is an exciting development. It means with a little time, I can discover things about the world around me that were just out of reach, too small to see with the naked eye.
I hope these images can help us realize that even in an invasive pest, there is some beauty just below the surface. I thank my classmates for having the stomach to get this sample so I could see it for myself.
I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University.