Required materials

  • Microscope
  • Slides
  • Ants
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Digital camera
  • Tweezers
  • One or two small glass vials
  • Microscope camera adapter
  • Ants

Estimated Experiment Time

Several hours

Step-By-Step Procedure

  • 1. Begin by placing an ant in each vial, using tweezers. Generally, you will only need about 3-4 vials so you can choose the best specimen.
  • 2. Fill each vial ¼ of the way full with rubbing alcohol, completely covering the ant. Let sit for at least one hour but no longer than an hour and a half. This will prepare the ants for the photograph by making them somewhat translucent so their brains and nervous systems will show up on the camera.
  • 3. While the ants are soaking in the alcohol, use this time to set up your microscope camera adapter with your microscope.
  • 4. When the ants have finished soaking in the alcohol solution, remove each ant with the tweezers and place them carefully on their own slide.
  • 5. View each ant with the microscope, determining which ant is the best specimen. You’ll want to choose the one where the brain and nervous system are the most noticeable.
  • 6. Begin photographing the best specimen, taking care to photograph all parts of the ant. Try using different magnifications to produce different results. Since you are using a digital camera, you can take plenty of pictures and eliminate all but the best pictures using your computer at a later time.