Morphology and Elemental Composition of Metal Based Granules in Wings of Bumblebees

  • Kateřina Dědková
  • Petr Jandačka
  • Rostislav Váňa
  • Jana Kukutschová
  • Nikola Vítkovská
Part of the Advanced Structured Materials book series (STRUCTMAT, volume 72)


The paper addresses detection and elemental analysis of solid metal-based particles/clusters present in wings of laboratory bread bumblebees. The goal of the article is detection and characterization of morphology and chemical composition of those particles. A combination of Gallium Focused Ion Beam (FIB)—Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) mapping were used for evaluation of particles/clusters localization in the samples. FIB allowed etching of subsurface structures and deeper understanding of particles/clusters structure. EDS mapping revealed distribution of single elements in detected particles/clusters. It was found that all evaluated particles/clusters were based on iron or iron oxides and were associated with calcium structures. Several other elements such as Al, Mg, Ti, Zn or Si were also detected. Several hypotheses for role of the detected particles were introduced, however the real purpose was not revealed.


Biomineralisation Bumblebee Iron granules Magnetoreception 



This paper was created on the Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering in the Project No. LO1203 “Regional Materials Science and Technology Centre—Feasibility Program” funded by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. The works were partially financed by project of students grant competition reg. no. SP2016/94 organized by Technical University of Ostrava, Faculty of Mining and Geology.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kateřina Dědková
    • 1
    • 2
  • Petr Jandačka
    • 3
  • Rostislav Váňa
    • 4
  • Jana Kukutschová
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nikola Vítkovská
    • 3
  1. 1.Nanotechnology CentreVŠB—Technical University of OstravaOstrava-PorubaCzech Republic
  2. 2.Regional Materials Science and Technology CentreVŠB—Technical University of OstravaOstrava-PorubaCzech Republic
  3. 3.Institute of Physics, Faculty of Mining and GeologyVŠB-Technical Unviersity of OstravaOstrava-PorubaCzech Republic
  4. 4.TESCAN BrnoBrnoCzech Republic

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