31 May 2018

In A Drop Of Water

I recently had a little money set aside to buy something fun for myself. I've always wanted to play around with a microscope, so I searched online for a decent (but cheap) microscope. I'm pretty happy with my purchase, but I don't get around to using it as often as I would like.

Below are a few images and video clips of the tiny critters I have found in water (fresh and sea) near our family holiday home in the Eastern Cape.

First up is an insect larva.

Insect larva as seen under a microscope

I initially thought that this might be a fly larva, but after posting the observation to iNaturalist I learnt that a number of different kinds of insect can have microscopic larva.

Video: Tiny insect lava found in fresh water

The water samples are often full of single cellular creatures.

A large single-cellular Diatome found in a drop of lagoon water

I'm not sure about the really small ones, but I believe these bigger ones are called Diatomes.

Video: A large Diatome swimming slowly under the microscope

One of the coolest creatures to find is the Rotifer. This little guy was found in our large bird bath.

A Rotifer can zip along using jet propulsion, although they also like to "walk"

Rotifers have the ability to create a strong water current around them that sweeps food into their mouths. They even have a tiny brain which, according to Wikipedia, operates about 250 of the 1000 cells that make up a Rotifer!

Video: Rotifer creates a strong current of water near it

I found this worm-like creature in a water sample I took from the rocky beach.

Maybe a Nematode?

I'm still not sure what exactly it is, but I think it is a Nematode.

Video: Worm-like-thing squirming underneath the microscope

Last, but not least, is this amazing little creature.

Maybe a type of Protozoan organism?

Again I have no idea what this might be. It was very small, so I want to guess it is a Protozoan, but it seems to be a fairly complex life form, so I'm not sure...

Video: I think it is feeding on the stuff to the left of the screen

I keen observer might have noticed that the photo and video quality isn't very good... Well that would be because I'm trying to hold my mobile phone at exactly the right spot to project the image from the eyepiece onto the phone's camera censor... But it is better than nothing and I'm happy to have a way of sharing this strange world with you folks out there.