Posted 2 days ago

How small can an animal get? 

This organism is a gastrotrich, an invertebrate found in the sediment of aquatic environments. They can be as small as .06 mm, or about the size of 10 human red blood cells laid flat end to end. And keep in mind that red blood cells are smaller than most of our cells!

Despite their size, these multi-cellular animals come with their own complete digestive system, nervous system, reproductive organs, and muscle tissue. They may not be the smallest (some rotifers and obligate parasites are smaller), but they certainly push the limit for how small an animal can be. 

(Photos are mine, information source is Animal Earth by Ross Piper and this)

Posted 1 week ago

A pair of worms under the microscope shot in dark-field.

The long, thin and somewhat yellow-ish worm is an Aelosoma, which are related to leeches and earthworms (part of the Annelid phylum). They are quite common in freshwater and are voracious feeders of algae and soil. 

The smaller white worm is a turbellarian, which is a type of free-living flatworm (as opposed to parasitic flatworms, which make up around 50% of all flatworms). This species in particular was a predator, as I saw siphoning up protists and rotifers. 

Although I refer to both of these two as “worms”, this does not mean they are closely related! Many life forms on earth have evolved a worm-like body. In science vernacular, we call this body shape “vermiform”. This just goes to show you that morphology alone is not enough to parse evolutionary relationships. 

Posted 1 week ago

One of my gifs is on Buzzfeed… again

http://www.buzzfeed.com/nicolasmedinamora/take-your-freaking-contacts-out

The first gif is mine. The protist in the gif is misidentified as an amoeba….. Anyways… 

Posted 1 week ago

(GIF) Ostracods, also known as seed shrimp. These tiny crustaceans are just barely visible as little specks as they dart around in the water, 

The clam-like outer shell can be opened and closed for protection. You can see their legs poking out of the shell, which can be used for swimming or crawling. 

Posted 3 weeks ago

Cymbella diatom shells, found in lake water. 

Although the shells are transparent, they often appear green/purple under the microscope. Maybe it’s some sort of trick of the light, I’m not sure.

Posted 3 weeks ago
merismo:

Found this unusual protist (maybe an embryo though??) in pond water. The sphere itself stood completely still, but the contents spun and twisted rapidly. Any ideas what this might be, followers?

After some further research, I can say with certainty that this is an embryo! It appears that spinning is common in aquatic embryos. The outer cells develop cilia, and the rotation helps diffuse oxygen throughout the embryo when in low-oxygen environments. Other factors such as pH and temperature also affect spinning (source). However, this is certainly the fastest rotation I’ve seen, and its worth noting that this may be due to a tubulin mutation! 

merismo:

Found this unusual protist (maybe an embryo though??) in pond water. The sphere itself stood completely still, but the contents spun and twisted rapidly. Any ideas what this might be, followers?

After some further research, I can say with certainty that this is an embryo! It appears that spinning is common in aquatic embryos. The outer cells develop cilia, and the rotation helps diffuse oxygen throughout the embryo when in low-oxygen environments. Other factors such as pH and temperature also affect spinning (source). However, this is certainly the fastest rotation I’ve seen, and its worth noting that this may be due to a tubulin mutation

Posted 3 weeks ago
Found this unusual protist (maybe an embryo though??) in pond water. The sphere itself stood completely still, but the contents spun and twisted rapidly. Any ideas what this might be, followers?

Found this unusual protist (maybe an embryo though??) in pond water. The sphere itself stood completely still, but the contents spun and twisted rapidly. Any ideas what this might be, followers?

Posted 3 weeks ago

I was looking through my microscope and I saw a face… sort of. Made up of diatoms.

Posted 1 month ago

mrcaptaincook:

merismo:

While trying to collect water samples from a canal I slipped and fell in. 

Who knows what was in that canal water. Manure run-off from crop fields? Raw sewage? Hell if I know.

But at least only my shoes were affected. I manage to grab hold before I lunged head first into the brown muddy water. 

Oh wait. Except my cell phone miraculously jumped out of my pocket and fell into the canal. 

you almost became a mutant superhero. alas, no giant tardigrade steed for you, protistaman

image

Posted 1 month ago

Video of Paramecium shot in dark-field.