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Spanish researcher releases a video showing a beetle from the inside

A University of Granada researcher has been awarded the Best Film of the Year at the SkyScan Micro CT Meeting, an international conference of computed microtomography recently celebrated in Brussels, Belgium. Professor Javier Alba Tercedor, of the Department of Zoology has been awarded for his biofilm titled Micro-CT anatomical study of a female an aquatic beetle (Insect: Coleoptera) of the genus Dryops. This film shows from the inside the anatomy of a small aquatic insect called Dryops, of the order of coleopteran (beetles). The video is available at

Tomography is a non-invasive widespread technique used by the scientific community, especially in the field of medicine. Micro-CT generates high-resolution images, and no alterations have to be made to samples; consequently, valuable specimens can be studied without causing any harm to them.

Several projects and European funding have allowed the purchase of large equipments. In late 2007, the University of Granada acquired the high-resolution microtomograph Skyscan 1172. Since then, Professor Alba Tercedor has mastered the use of the tool and has obtained very satisfactory results. In 2010, he was awarded the Best Image award at the SkyScan Micro CT Meeting.

A Technique with Many Possibilites

At present, Professor Alba affirms to be "a microtomography enthusiast", as it offers many innovative possibilities. His research studies have been published in prestigious journals, and have revealed anatomical aspects so far unknown. In addition, his research has elucidated a set of controversial aspects, such as why some beetle species can fly by day, while other only fly by night or under low temperatures (study published in the journal Plos one available at; he also solved the question about the defensive or structural function of the small needles (spicules) that some sea slugs have in their inside (published in Microscopy and analysis, available at

Contact: Javier Alba Tercedor
University of Granada

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