Wildwater.tv's Blog

Video and Scientific Photography

Archive for September, 2009

Jumping Spider 2

Posted by wildwatertv on September 30, 2009

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Thought I’d post another angle of this lovely beast.  Here you can see that it, like most parents, has eyes in the back of its head.  Looks more like a fighter bomber than an animal at all.

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Jumping Spider

Posted by wildwatertv on September 28, 2009

blogsalticid

This wonderful creature is a jumping spider (Salticus spp).  These are often seen on walls in the summer and autumn hunting for insects.  They have a black and white zebra pattern on their backs.  Far from having the compound eyes of insects spiders have very good vision and highly developed eyes.  This family is unlike most other in that it has specialised binocular vision in order to hunt, as well as two larger peripheral eyes.  The whole spider is about 5mm in length, but if you were smaller than that you could be fairly sure is was going to see you.  Those jaws are pretty impressive too…

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Beautiful eyes

Posted by wildwatertv on September 25, 2009

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If there was ever an insect beauty competition, this animal would probably win it.  It’s a lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea). The green lacewing is a common predator of aphids, so is considered a friend to gardeners, but what is most remarkable are the eyes.  They seem to be made from some kind of iridescent metal, but they are just the usual compound types.  The sheer perfection of these eyes is fascinating.  Taken through a microscope using polarized light.

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Mosquito

Posted by wildwatertv on September 23, 2009

 

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This is a female Anopheles mosquito.  It’s only the females that have the proboscis for biting through skin.  Very close up these creatures display extraordinary colour and vitality.  Seems a shame to just squash them really.  The scales on the head are similar to the scales on a butterfly’s wing, and the head is full of receptors including a very advanced heat sensing system which helps mosquitos find their victims. As well as the two antennae the mosquito has a pair of short palps just above the proboscis. These are the first pictures taken with the microscope I’ve just made in my engineering workshop.  The lens is the ubiquitous Zeiss luminar and the lighting was a mixture of transmitted blue light and incident white light.

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Compound eyes part one

Posted by wildwatertv on September 17, 2009

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This fly on a leaf was shot using a Zeiss Luminar.  The size of the animal was about 5mm.  The detail below shows the structure of an insect’s eye.  The honeycomb pattern varies from species to species, but this is a fine example of one of the more highly developed eyes in the insect kingdom.  Each segment of the eye can be thought of as a pixel, and the image the fly sees is dependent only on the number of facets it has available.  Simpler insects have far fewer.

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An Eye

Posted by wildwatertv on September 7, 2009

Emma's eye

This might seem an odd image to choose, but I love the simplicity of it.  It’s Emma’s eye, and although the vast majority of the image is out of focus it does convey a wonderful sense of anticipation….

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A couple of spiders..

Posted by wildwatertv on September 7, 2009

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This spider is called Meta segmentata. They are very common this time of year, and if you look under leaves by an orb web you will often see them devouring something.  In this case it’s a fly.  Spiders digest prey by first wrapping them in silk and then injecting them with enzymes.  the resulting meal is more of a soup than a meat dish.

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And this one is called Araneus Diadematus.  As with the meta they are very common in the autumn and can get to quite a size.  This one is female and still fairly small.  You can see that all spiders have eight eyes, though in some, such as the Lycosids (wolf spiders) two are far more pronounced than the rest.

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Pollen

Posted by wildwatertv on September 3, 2009

 

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This strange world is pollen on the stamens of a rock rose flower.  It’s possible to almost feel the sticky nature of the individual grains.  Each cell of the stamen is also visible.  Photographed through a microscope using a Zeiss 10x planachromatic objective.

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