Wildwater.tv's Blog

Video and Scientific Photography

Posts Tagged ‘insects’

Hover fly or syrphid fly portrait

Posted by wildwatertv on September 3, 2010

Extreme close up of the head of the syrphid or hover fly, Eupeodes luniger, showing the structure of the compound eyes.  My interest in these creatures seems to be growing, and I’m still struggling to get the absolute maximum detail available with transmitted light. The more I see of insects, the more I admire them. Stacked using 110 images taken with a Nikon 10x DIC objective using flash. Nikon D300. Modified Lomo microscope with a short tube.

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Microscopy as art

Posted by wildwatertv on August 20, 2010

A friend of mine, Julian Barton, suggested that microscopy could be used to produce artistic as well as scientific images.  Sort of landscapes within the miniature world.  There is a good history of this, with Spike Walker being represented by the Wellcome Institute at an exhibition recently of his electron micrographs.  This is my first attempt.  Greenbottles (Lucilla Caesar) have an amazing irridescent quality when you see them, and it is just about possible to reproduce this photographically.  These two pics are of the abdomen and thorax of a greenbottle.  I think I like the first one best, due to its cartoon like quality, but comments are appreciated.  Julian, I hope this is what you meant.  Taken through a light microscope using a Nikon 10xDIC objective with reflected flash light.

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Greenfly giving birth

Posted by wildwatertv on June 15, 2010

Now this is a touching and tender scene for anyone who isn’t a gardener.  It’s a greenfly giving birth to one of many daughters on a rosebud. Within ten minutes there were several of these little beasts running around their mother.  She, meanwhile, just sat there eating throughout.  Taken using a zeiss luminar 25mm lens with the usual flash arrangement which picks up the colours being diffracted by the wings.  When I last looked, mother and daughter were doing well….

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House Fly’s mouth

Posted by wildwatertv on June 8, 2010

This creature is the common house fly, musca domestica. When you see them sitting on a piece of bread they are using that fearsome mouth to scrape and suck food from the bread, cheese, or anything else they might like…  It excretes a sort of liquid enzyme which digests the food on the surface before sucking the pre-digested liquid up though the tube.  These mouth-parts are always a bit grubby.  Pays to keep them off your food in the first place.  Now I’ve seen one up close I think I’ll be more careful.

Taken through a light microscope with a Nikon x10DIC .25 objective and stacked using a stack of thirty-four images.

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Hover Fly eyes

Posted by wildwatertv on May 28, 2010

This beast is the common hoverfly, Melascaeava cinctella.  It has excellent vision, and extremely well developed compound eyes.  This photograph also shows the three small simple eyes, or ocelli, arranged in a triangle between the two enormous compound eyes.  Photographic image stack using a Zeiss Luminar 25mm on a standard light microscope.

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Female flower bee in flight

Posted by wildwatertv on April 29, 2010

This is another hairy footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes).  There are lots around at the moment, but they disappear by the end of May.  This high speed photograph shows the opening of the sheath around the long tongue as the bee approaches a pulmonaria flower.   This sheath gets folded back as the bee feeds and then it snaps shut again before moving on to the next flower.  The male is shown in an earlier post, but this is the female, with pollen baskets on her hind legs.  Many of these are living in holes in the wall of our cottage.

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Shield bug

Posted by wildwatertv on April 20, 2010

This fantastic creature is a Green shieldbug (Palomina Prasina), Order Hemiptera sub order Heteroptera Family Acanthosomidae. They have long sucking mouthparts but they also have a gland in their thorax between the first and second pair of legs which secretes a foul smelling liquid.  This gives them their other common name, stink bugs.

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Hairy footed flower bee

Posted by wildwatertv on April 14, 2010

I spent ages last week setting up the equipment to do high speed photography on bees in flight.  Finally, I got this one to play and it took its own picture.  It looked a little odd when it came to identifying it.  I first thought it was a bee-fly, but on further investigation it IS a bee called the hairy footed flower bee, or to give it its scientific name, Anthophora plumipes. They have very long tongues, which can get to the nectaries of pulmonaria.  They are hole dwellers and our house has holes made by mason bees in which they probably live.  the females are all black, but this is the male.  They are among the earliest of bees, and only fly until about May.

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Compound eyes 2

Posted by wildwatertv on November 9, 2009

waspeyeblog

This is the eye of a wasp.  Unlike bees they have clean compound eyes, very highly developed.  The structure is a honeycomb of hexagonal elements, which combine to form a rudimentary image.  They eyes cannot focus like human eyes, but they can see in most directions at the same time, which gives the insect a clear warning when anything approaches. Taken through a Swift Microscope with a 4x objective.

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The face of a wasp

Posted by wildwatertv on October 16, 2009

blogwasp

This is a familiar summer face, the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris)  again on ivy.  This photograph shows the complex mouth-parts of the wasp.  These are almost like a plane or a spokeshave enclosed in powerful jaws and are used not only for feeding, but for scraping and chewing wood to form the paper used in nest-building.  Although they are a nuisance, wasps have a beauty all of their own.

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