Microscopic Wonders!

This album contains photos taken with a digital stereomicroscope and compound microscope. It includes butterfly scales, powdery mildew, and pond water organisms.
Image Number Image (Click to Enlarge)CaptionImage Viewed
1 This photo of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a penny was taken at 10 times normal size (or 10X) with a Wolfe 1.3 megapixel digital stereomicroscope. The structure measures 1.5 centimeters on a penny. This type of microscope is used to study the de...

This photo of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a penny was taken at 10 times normal size (or 10X) with a Wolfe 1.3 megapixel digital stereomicroscope. The structure measures 1.5 centimeters on a penny. This type of microscope is used to study the de...

This photo of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a penny was taken at 10 times normal size (or 10X) with a Wolfe 1.3 megapixel digital stereomicroscope. The structure measures 1.5 centimeters on a penny. This type of microscope is used to study the detail of small 3-D objects, the light can shine on the upper surface or from below. It is possible to see President Lincoln in the center of the memorial and the tiny building details at this magnification. 1454
2 This is the same scene of the penny taken at 30x. President Lincoln is easier to see at this magnification.

This is the same scene of the penny taken at 30x. President Lincoln is easier to see at this magnification.

This is the same scene of the penny taken at 30x. President Lincoln is easier to see at this magnification. 1024
3 This photo of the detail on a Monarch butterfly wing was taken at 10X. Note the small white triangle in the upper left corner, the following photo shows it at 30X.

This photo of the detail on a Monarch butterfly wing was taken at 10X. Note the small white triangle in the upper left corner, the following photo shows it at 30X.

This photo of the detail on a Monarch butterfly wing was taken at 10X. Note the small white triangle in the upper left corner, the following photo shows it at 30X. 1504
4 This photo of the Monarch butterfly wing at 30X shows the different colors of the scales.

This photo of the Monarch butterfly wing at 30X shows the different colors of the scales.

This photo of the Monarch butterfly wing at 30X shows the different colors of the scales. 1038
5 It is interesting to see the different types of scales on the edge of a butterfly's wing, magnified at 30x.

It is interesting to see the different types of scales on the edge of a butterfly's wing, magnified at 30x.

It is interesting to see the different types of scales on the edge of a butterfly's wing, magnified at 30x. 757
6 The head, thorax, and vestigial forelegs of this Monarch butterfly are visible in this 10X stereoscope photo. Monarch and other "4-legged" butterflies appear to have just 4 legs, but like all insects, they have 6. The first 2 legs are no longer used fo...

The head, thorax, and vestigial forelegs of this Monarch butterfly are visible in this 10X stereoscope photo. Monarch and other "4-legged" butterflies appear to have just 4 legs, but like all insects, they have 6. The first 2 legs are no longer used fo...

The head, thorax, and vestigial forelegs of this Monarch butterfly are visible in this 10X stereoscope photo. Monarch and other "4-legged" butterflies appear to have just 4 legs, but like all insects, they have 6. The first 2 legs are no longer used for walking. Note the puffy white spots on the butterfly's thorax. The next photo shows a 30X close-up of the spots. 928
7 The scales on a Monarch butterfly's thorax magnified at 30x. The black scales are more like hairs.

The scales on a Monarch butterfly's thorax magnified at 30x. The black scales are more like hairs.

The scales on a Monarch butterfly's thorax magnified at 30x. The black scales are more like hairs. 899
8 This photo of a "<strong>Wandering Jew</strong>" (<em>Tradescantia zebrina</em>) leaf was taken with a digital compound microscope at 40X. Compound microscopes shine the light through the specimen, so it has to be very thin. These microscopes have a hi...

This photo of a "Wandering Jew" (Tradescantia zebrina) leaf was taken with a digital compound microscope at 40X. Compound microscopes shine the light through the specimen, so it has to be very thin. These microscopes have a hi...

This photo of a "Wandering Jew" (Tradescantia zebrina) leaf was taken with a digital compound microscope at 40X. Compound microscopes shine the light through the specimen, so it has to be very thin. These microscopes have a higher magnification than stereoscopes, but the with the increase in magnification there is a decrease in the amount of light and resolution (clarity). 1767
9 The individual cells of the Wandering Jew leaf become much more obvious at 100X magnification. The <em>stomata</em> are easy to see scattered among the cells on the leaf's underside. <em>Stoma</em> means "mouth" in Latin. These openings allow the trans...

The individual cells of the Wandering Jew leaf become much more obvious at 100X magnification. The stomata are easy to see scattered among the cells on the leaf's underside. Stoma means "mouth" in Latin. These openings allow the trans...

The individual cells of the Wandering Jew leaf become much more obvious at 100X magnification. The stomata are easy to see scattered among the cells on the leaf's underside. Stoma means "mouth" in Latin. These openings allow the transfer of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the leaf and oxygen (O2) out of the leaf. 2157
10 At 400X the individual "guard cells" of this stoma can be seen.

At 400X the individual "guard cells" of this stoma can be seen.

At 400X the individual "guard cells" of this stoma can be seen. 1297
11 <strong>Powdery Mildew</strong> is a common fungus that often attacks leaves of plants, such as this Columbine, in the fall before the plant dies or goes dormant. This photo was taken at 10X with a stereomicroscope.

Powdery Mildew is a common fungus that often attacks leaves of plants, such as this Columbine, in the fall before the plant dies or goes dormant. This photo was taken at 10X with a stereomicroscope.

Powdery Mildew is a common fungus that often attacks leaves of plants, such as this Columbine, in the fall before the plant dies or goes dormant. This photo was taken at 10X with a stereomicroscope. 1367
12 A photo of Powdery Mildew at 30X shows the growth pattern of the organism. Unfortunately, the camera on the microscope is only 1.3 megapixels, so the resolution is not quite as clear as I would like. When I look at the mildew through the eyepiece, I ca...

A photo of Powdery Mildew at 30X shows the growth pattern of the organism. Unfortunately, the camera on the microscope is only 1.3 megapixels, so the resolution is not quite as clear as I would like. When I look at the mildew through the eyepiece, I ca...

A photo of Powdery Mildew at 30X shows the growth pattern of the organism. Unfortunately, the camera on the microscope is only 1.3 megapixels, so the resolution is not quite as clear as I would like. When I look at the mildew through the eyepiece, I can see the 3-D structure of the mildew. 1536
13 This <em><strong>Vorticella</em></strong> is a single-celled organism, a protist (100X). The bell-shaped cell is ciliated and stalked. The organism eats by waving the cilia and pulling food particles into the cell openings (being single-celled, it has ...

This Vorticella is a single-celled organism, a protist (100X). The bell-shaped cell is ciliated and stalked. The organism eats by waving the cilia and pulling food particles into the cell openings (being single-celled, it has ...

This Vorticella is a single-celled organism, a protist (100X). The bell-shaped cell is ciliated and stalked. The organism eats by waving the cilia and pulling food particles into the cell openings (being single-celled, it has no "mouth"). The following high-magnification photos were taken with a Wolfe 1.3 megapixel digital compound microscope, unfortunately, that resolution does not allow for sharp, high resolution photos. The photos in the science catalog sure didn't look like these! Hmmm, it makes me wonder if they really were taken with this kind of microscope! ;) 918
14 Diatoms (pronounced "DIE-uh-toms") are a type of single-celled golden-brown algae. They have a cell wall made up of silica, the main ingredient of sand and glass. They can live singly or in colonies, both types can be seen in this photo. Some diatoms a...

Diatoms (pronounced "DIE-uh-toms") are a type of single-celled golden-brown algae. They have a cell wall made up of silica, the main ingredient of sand and glass. They can live singly or in colonies, both types can be seen in this photo. Some diatoms a...

Diatoms (pronounced "DIE-uh-toms") are a type of single-celled golden-brown algae. They have a cell wall made up of silica, the main ingredient of sand and glass. They can live singly or in colonies, both types can be seen in this photo. Some diatoms are motile, they move about by oozing slime through tiny pores in their shells, sliding over the substrate like microscopic slugs. Rocks in lakes and rivers are often slippery due to large numbers of diatoms. The shells sink to the bottom of the lake or ocean when the organism dies and loses its "bouyancy compensating" oil droplet. Over millions of years the compressed shells solidified and turned to chalk. The shells of dead diatoms are also used as the abrasive substance in toothpaste (look for "hydrated silica" on the ingredient label). I get quite a reaction from my students when they learn that fact! :) Diatoms are photosynthetic and produce large amounts of oxygen (due to the astronomical numbers of them in the lakes and oceans). There are over 100,000 different species of diatoms worldwide. It is very easy to find diatoms in pond, lake, river and ocean water samples. These specimens are magnified at 100X, I wish the resolution of the camera was better so the beautiful detail of the cells would be visible in the photos. 870
15 <em>Tabellaria</em> Diatoms in a "chain".

Tabellaria Diatoms in a "chain".

Tabellaria Diatoms in a "chain". 732
16 I have been looking at pond and lake water for 20 years and I am constantly amazed at what I see. It seems I see something new every time I bring water from the lake and put it under the microscope. The small brown, round object may be a protozoan call...

I have been looking at pond and lake water for 20 years and I am constantly amazed at what I see. It seems I see something new every time I bring water from the lake and put it under the microscope. The small brown, round object may be a protozoan call...

I have been looking at pond and lake water for 20 years and I am constantly amazed at what I see. It seems I see something new every time I bring water from the lake and put it under the microscope. The small brown, round object may be a protozoan called Difflugia. The green object is a strand of green algae, the individual cells are visible in it. 775
17 <strong>Rotifer</strong> at 100X
Oh, how I wish my microscope camera had better resolution! This <strong>rotifer</strong> was so fascinating to watch as it swam through the water on the microscope slide. At 100X it was possible to see the cilia at the...

Rotifer at 100X Oh, how I wish my microscope camera had better resolution! This rotifer was so fascinating to watch as it swam through the water on the microscope slide. At 100X it was possible to see the cilia at the...

Rotifer at 100X Oh, how I wish my microscope camera had better resolution! This rotifer was so fascinating to watch as it swam through the water on the microscope slide. At 100X it was possible to see the cilia at the top waving rapidly. These animals were first seen by Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, the Dutch inventor of the microscope, in the 1670's. He found them in the water from his cistern (yes, he probably drank millions of them!). He called them "wheel animalcules" because they spin or rotate as they pull themselves through the water with their cilia. They also pull in small bits of food with the cilia. One of my favorite rotifers is bright orange and it inches along the slide like an inchworm! I find them in the birdbath in my yard each summer. To see this animal moving, go to the Videos section on the site map on this website. 967
18 The <strong>Hydra</strong> is a freshwater <em>Cnidarian</em>, related to jellyfish, sea anemones and coral polyps. Like their marine relatives, they have tentacles with small, harpoon-like stingers called <em>nematocysts</em>. The tentacles capture zo...

The Hydra is a freshwater Cnidarian, related to jellyfish, sea anemones and coral polyps. Like their marine relatives, they have tentacles with small, harpoon-like stingers called nematocysts. The tentacles capture zo...

The Hydra is a freshwater Cnidarian, related to jellyfish, sea anemones and coral polyps. Like their marine relatives, they have tentacles with small, harpoon-like stingers called nematocysts. The tentacles capture zooplankton prey and paralyze the tiny animals before putting them in the mouth at the base of the tentacles. Hydras have 2 methods of reproduction, one way involving male and female cells (I have to be careful how I word things pertaining to this subject, the school filters will kick me off!). The other asexual method is by "budding", the hydra grows a new animal on its side. When the bud gets big enough it breaks off and becomes independent. 1237
19 <strong>Waterflea</strong> at 10X
<em>Scapholeberis</em> spp.
The waterflea is probably one of the most interesting animals to be seen in freshwater. They are about the size of a pinhead, so they can be seen swimming in a jar of water. Waterfleas are...

Waterflea at 10X Scapholeberis spp. The waterflea is probably one of the most interesting animals to be seen in freshwater. They are about the size of a pinhead, so they can be seen swimming in a jar of water. Waterfleas are...

Waterflea at 10X Scapholeberis spp. The waterflea is probably one of the most interesting animals to be seen in freshwater. They are about the size of a pinhead, so they can be seen swimming in a jar of water. Waterfleas are used to test water quality in sewerage treatment plants because they are highly intolerant to polluted water. I always get a kick out of telling the boys in my microscope classes that these animals don't have to have a male to reproduce, they clone themselves. I ask the girls if they could imagine having 4 to 10 babies every week for up to 2 months and the babies would be exactly like them! Three babies can easily be seen in this waterflea's broodpouch; the small black spots on the right side are their eyes. Males can be produced when needed, such as when the water supply is dwindling or in the winter before the water freezes. When a male and female mate, a single baby is produced in a large (relatively speaking!) cyst or resting egg. The cyst settles to the bottom and stays dormant until the conditions improve enough for the baby to hatch out. The baby will be a female and she will begin to clone herself within days of hatching. Soon the pond will be full of waterfleas again! ***Update*** Thanks to Cathy, a research assistant at the Limnology Lab at Ohio State University, I now understand how the female cladocera are able to produce males: "As for how males cladocerans (Daphnia and others) are produced, when environmental conditions change, becoming less favorable due to overcrowding, accumulation of metabolic wastes, decreasing food availability, or changes in light or temperature, some female produce parthenogenic male eggs (2n) which become males (2n) that produce sperm (1n). Some females will produce sexual eggs (1n) at this time as well, so males and females can mate to produce a fertilized egg (2n) that is released into a specialized resting case (called an Ephippium) which is resistant to freezing and drying. Ephippium look like a saddle. The ephippium may sink to the bottom of the pond or lake, and can stay in the resting state until favorable conditions return. I have read that Ephippium have been found in sediments up to 300 years old and hatched in laboratory conditions producing parthenogenetic females which will live normally." 852
20 This <strong>Chydorid waterflea</strong> has a much different shape than the <em>Scapholeberis</em>. Note the greenish "baby" in the brood pouch.

This Chydorid waterflea has a much different shape than the Scapholeberis. Note the greenish "baby" in the brood pouch.

This Chydorid waterflea has a much different shape than the Scapholeberis. Note the greenish "baby" in the brood pouch. 904
21 <strong>Copepod; Cyclops</strong> 

This female <em>Cyclops</em> has several eggs. Unlike the water flea, she mates with a male and carries the eggs externally. These little creatures are extremely fast and hard to catch with a pipette (eye dropper)....

Copepod; Cyclops This female Cyclops has several eggs. Unlike the water flea, she mates with a male and carries the eggs externally. These little creatures are extremely fast and hard to catch with a pipette (eye dropper)....

Copepod; Cyclops This female Cyclops has several eggs. Unlike the water flea, she mates with a male and carries the eggs externally. These little creatures are extremely fast and hard to catch with a pipette (eye dropper). I took a photo of a projected image to get this shot, not my favorite way to get a picture, but it works. The following photo shows a "baby" copepod. 930
22 This <em><strong>Cyclops</em></strong> larva (100X) is called a "nauplius".

This Cyclops larva (100X) is called a "nauplius".

This Cyclops larva (100X) is called a "nauplius". 846
23 This is not a worm, it is an insect (gnat)larva. These Chironomid larvae are often seen in fresh water ponds and lakes. This one is magnified 10 times. These wiggly creatures live in fresh water as larvae and pupae then become gnats in the summer.

This is not a worm, it is an insect (gnat)larva. These Chironomid larvae are often seen in fresh water ponds and lakes. This one is magnified 10 times. These wiggly creatures live in fresh water as larvae and pupae then become gnats in the summer.

This is not a worm, it is an insect (gnat)larva. These Chironomid larvae are often seen in fresh water ponds and lakes. This one is magnified 10 times. These wiggly creatures live in fresh water as larvae and pupae then become gnats in the summer. 2416
24 The ususal reaction I get from my students when they see this creature in the microscope is, "Ewwww, a worm!" This is an annelid, or an aquatic earthworm. In a clearer photo the rings would be visible. It also has hair-like projections called <em>setae...

The ususal reaction I get from my students when they see this creature in the microscope is, "Ewwww, a worm!" This is an annelid, or an aquatic earthworm. In a clearer photo the rings would be visible. It also has hair-like projections called setae...

The ususal reaction I get from my students when they see this creature in the microscope is, "Ewwww, a worm!" This is an annelid, or an aquatic earthworm. In a clearer photo the rings would be visible. It also has hair-like projections called setae (just barely visible on its sides), they help the worm move more easily through the water. The worm's digestive tract is easily seen in this photo taken at 10X. 1035
25 <strong>Head Louse</strong>
<em>Pediculus capitis</em>
This little 1mm-long "cootie" strikes fear in the hearts of all elementary school teachers! I catch myself scratching my head every time I think about them! This head louse is magnified 30x. It w...

Head Louse Pediculus capitis This little 1mm-long "cootie" strikes fear in the hearts of all elementary school teachers! I catch myself scratching my head every time I think about them! This head louse is magnified 30x. It w...

Head Louse Pediculus capitis This little 1mm-long "cootie" strikes fear in the hearts of all elementary school teachers! I catch myself scratching my head every time I think about them! This head louse is magnified 30x. It was collected from some unfortunate kid and put into a plastic bag, where I photographed it. Head lice are perfectly designed to live in the hair of humans. Note the little hooks on the legs. 1164
26 Green algae and diatoms

Green algae and diatoms

Green algae and diatoms 800
27 Bladderwort at 10X (stereomicroscope)
This is a carnivorous plant! The tiny bladders have sensitive hair-like projections that capture small aquatic creatures.

Bladderwort at 10X (stereomicroscope) This is a carnivorous plant! The tiny bladders have sensitive hair-like projections that capture small aquatic creatures.

Bladderwort at 10X (stereomicroscope) This is a carnivorous plant! The tiny bladders have sensitive hair-like projections that capture small aquatic creatures. 1010
28 Bladderwort at 40x
This is an individual bladder, note the cells.

Bladderwort at 40x This is an individual bladder, note the cells.

Bladderwort at 40x This is an individual bladder, note the cells. 736
29 <em><strong>Spirogyra</em></strong> - a green alga

No, this is not the rock band from the  1970's! I thought it was funny when I was in high school that a band would name itself after a pretty green alga! 
Spirogyra is sometimes called "Mermaid's H...

Spirogyra - a green alga No, this is not the rock band from the 1970's! I thought it was funny when I was in high school that a band would name itself after a pretty green alga! Spirogyra is sometimes called "Mermaid's H...

Spirogyra - a green alga No, this is not the rock band from the 1970's! I thought it was funny when I was in high school that a band would name itself after a pretty green alga! Spirogyra is sometimes called "Mermaid's Hair" or "pond silk" because the strands can grow very long. 954
30 <strong>Microscopic view of an Batrachospermum Alga strand</strong>
My science outreach program has a projection microscope that puts the picture on the table. I took this photo of one of those projected pictures, it's not great, but it works!

Microscopic view of an Batrachospermum Alga strand My science outreach program has a projection microscope that puts the picture on the table. I took this photo of one of those projected pictures, it's not great, but it works!

Microscopic view of an Batrachospermum Alga strand My science outreach program has a projection microscope that puts the picture on the table. I took this photo of one of those projected pictures, it's not great, but it works! 859
31 A 2-celled <em>Desmid</em> alga seen at 300x magnification.

A 2-celled Desmid alga seen at 300x magnification.

A 2-celled Desmid alga seen at 300x magnification. 840
32 An Algal strand seen at 300x.

An Algal strand seen at 300x.

An Algal strand seen at 300x. 884

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