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Rhythmic compressive movements in the tracheal system in the carabid beetle Platynus decentis, demonstrating the utility of phase-contrast synchrotron imaging for studies of respiratory dynamics in small animals. View (1.3 × 1.0 mm) is a dorsoventral projection through prothorax of a beetle (mass ~ 45 mg) using monochromatic x-rays (25 keV). The midline of the beetle lies on the right side of the video between the two coxae (large circular structures, bottom right). Collapse and reinflation of the air-filled tracheal tubes can be seen in the majority of the tubes in view. The smallest tracheal tubes that can be seen are about 10 μm in diameter; tracheoles (<1 μm diameter) are too small to be resolved. The circle and dark opaque spots the upper right are an air bubble and particles in the esophagus, respectively; note that they move anteriorly and posteriorly during the compression of the tracheal tubes. The white and dark spots that do not move with the beetle movement are artifacts due to the incident beam and detector system.

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Socha et al. BMC Biology 2007 5:6   doi:10.1186/1741-7007-5-6