As our world continues to shrink due to improved communication and transportation, alien insect invaders exploit our trade routes to find new habitats for their survival. In many cases, the introduction of non-indigenous insects results in mild annoyance for recreational enthusiasts. However, a mere handful of certain invasive species would decimate not only a delicately balanced ecosystem, but also an economy that relies on elements of that ecosystem. Once these insects are no longer isolated by climate and geographic boundaries, the only way to protect domestic resources is to inspect all incoming cargo for "hitchhikers".

Containing ecologically harmful insects can cost exponentially more than preventing their intrusion. Searching each shipment for invasive species of insects is relatively easy when compared to the process of identifying these insects. That's because 6 out of 10 living things on this planet are insects and no other form of life has more variety. Distinguishing subtle differences in an insect's appearance can mean the difference between catching a harmless bug before it enters the country and allowing a non-indigenous bug into an environment with an abundant food supply and no natural predator.

The current process of identification for suspicious insects requires transportation of a specimen to a central location for expert scrutiny. This process can be rather costly in terms of time for perishable shipments. Today's high-speed digital communication infrastructure can make this process nearly instantaneous when coupled with computer-based robotic vision systems. The SnapDragon remote entomology microscope allows experts to connect directly to ports of entry via the Internet to identify potentially harmful species of insects before they infiltrate our environment.

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