Andreas Bertsch & Andreas Titze
The genital capsule of the bumblebee is nearly always illustrated in dorso-ventral view. This may be sufficient as a quick aid to species identification. However, in order to get an idea of the spatial arrangement of these complex morphological structures, it is not sufficient. Images are always two-dimensional projections; they cannot adequately depict the three-dimensional form of a structure. In order to recognize the real shape of an object one needs to look at several projections from varying angles.
Not everyone who wants to deal with bumblebees has access to a really excellent stereomicroscope. Hopefully, these SEM images (Scanning Electron Microscope) will help to overcome this deficiency: they are intended to convey the best possible picture of reality. Of course, they cannot replace reality, i.e. the exact study of a genital capsule.