Field of Science

Moss microforay teaser

Really busy lately, hence the spotty blogging as of late. However, tonight I just happened to have a small moss sample and some 'spare time' (reads: time I could've used productively instead...) after imaging some lab-related stuff at the scope. Went on a bit of a moss microforay, found loads of Euglyphids, and will post a couple teasers as it will take me a while to process all the images:

Sadly, most of my Euglyphid images were made before I realised some genius managed to get oil encrusted on the 40x air objective. The subsequent avid cleaning accompanied by profanity did help clear up the lens a little, but it's still seriously fucked. That kind of thing makes me really angry, as it's easily avoidable and keeping lenses clean can improve your image quality so much for free. A clean simple lens can get better images than a dirty fancy lens, and each speck/layer of crap eats away a nice chunk of resolution. Look at the difference using the same specimen (which drifted a little during the distraction) - the one on the left is before cleaning, the one on the right after (the left image is at the optimal DIC settings, for the right image the analyser and prism haven't been properly re-adjusted yet, so it gets better):

Another thing I noticed was that suddenly there was A LOT MORE LIGHT. So yeah, keep your lenses clean and if the image is strangely fuzzy, don't forget to check if some idiot dirtied the objective somehow. Oh, and keep oil the fucking hell away from any non-oil objectives, it's not that bloody difficult!!!

Grrr I really hate it when so much time gets wasted because of something really stupid being wrong with the scope.

Anyway, there was also a mystery metazoan of some sort. I can't quite figure out what it is. Does anyone know? I'm no good with worm-like metazoa...

The microforay images, presentation part 2 narration, proper response to a certain comment and maybe even a couple other obligations (eg. Mystery Micrograph write-ups...) will be worked on this weekend. In any case, I'll finish the narration then, sorry for keeping you waiting!
Edit 27.03.10: Finished narration for part 2! Enjoy, please feel free to ask questions, etc.


  1. The mystery metazoan is a bdelloid rotifer of some description.

  2. Not a gnathostomulid? Not that I am any sort of expert, but it does have a resemblance....

  3. A gnathostomulid? In a random patch of moss? Not bloody likely - there's a reason gnathostomulids weren't described until the 1960s or thereabouts.

    To be a little less unnecessarily snarky, though, the segmented 'tail' and the cilia around the anterior end are what show it to be a rotifer. It looks a bit different from most bdelloid photos online because the anterior ciliary ring (if that's the right term) is contracted rather than extended. Rotifers and gnathostomulids are usually thought to be closely related to each other and have reasonably similar jaws, which are very well-shown in the photos (some other rotifer groups have lost or modified the jaws).

  4. Thanks! I did have a passing thought it may be a bdelloid rotifer, but wondered where the cirri/cilia/whatever those whirly things are called were.

    So it wouldn't be particularly interested in a mate, would it? ;-)

  5. Supposedly not. But if you do happen to find one for it, be sure to let us know, ok? ;)


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