Done finals for the term. Have more in June, so it doesn't seem like the end really...
And a certain Dictyopteran-endosymbiont-obsessed faculty in our department is indirectly responsible for the following 'study break':
I'm sitting there, cramming biochem, getting some studying done. Along comes a cockroach (I've spotted at least three species of cockroaches in our building already). I instinctively catch it and key it out, to subsequently determine it's phylogenetic position without the cockroaches. It was Supella longipalpa, sadly not a basal roach, and thus unlikely to host the Parabasalian zoo I was looking for (eg. Trichonympha). Further literature searches revealed only bacterial gut flora, and parasitoid wasp larvae. However, anything trumps biochem, so I decided to go have a look.
As expected, not much excitement in the way of gut flora. A couple flagellated-seeming tiny things (a couple microns) -- possibly bacteria, possibly some obscure excavate -- couldn't quite tell. Couldn't take pictures of those as our camera is too slow even for us plant people. But then I discovered the awesome that is insect tissue under polarised light:
Microscopy is truly the closest thing we got to exploring foreign universes...
This one reminds me of Southern Ontario fields in the winter:
(you can see why cockroaches are in order Dictyoptera - net-wing.
More Martian tripiness:
And can anybody tell me what those greenish round things are?
I really need to read up on insect anatomy... have no idea what I'm looking at most of the time. Not to mention that it's all squashed to begin with...
Sadly, as expected, no cool Parabasalian freaks found in Supella longipalpa hindgut this time. K, next cockroach!
If anyone's got some spare Cryptocercus lying about, feel free to send 'er over! My current clip of Saccinobaculus sucks arse, and that organism is way too cool for sucky videos.
The Newton Medal is (bit) late
13 hours ago in Doc Madhattan