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Archive for the ‘Pond Life’ Category

The subjects of my interests about microscopy changes from time to time.  I have been crazy about rocks and minerals this summer.   The temperature here has been dipped down to mid 40s degree F (7 degree C) in the early morning although the mid day temperature is still comfortably at mid 70s.  I got to go out to collect some pond specimens for observation before it is too cold for any organism to be active.  I choose different collection site, Briscoe Park Located at Snellville, GA.

The number and variety have been drastically reduced from my early summer observation.  Again, I found seed shrimp (Ostracod) in my collection.

Seed Shrimp (Ostracod)

Seed Shrimp (Ostracod)

A Dinoflagellate Ceratium spp.

First time, I observed a dinoflagellate (Ceratium Furca). It is a flagellate protist. I can barely see the flagella because the flagella are relatively transparent.

Diatom

filamentous Green Algae

Unidentified Algae Colony

The specimen was collected in 60 mL tube and split into a several 7 mL tubes and centrifuged in my homemade centrifuge.

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Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)  is the most popular aquarium fish.  They are community fish which means that they get alone with other aquarium fish.  They are not very picky about water condition and easy to breed.  I have a tank of guppies that I have kept for several generations.  

Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are peaceful community fish

Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are peaceful community fish

Fish fins are transparent or semi-transparent.  They can be easily observed under microscope without any sample preparation. I took five guppies from my fish tank and put them in a small container next to my microscope so I can easily put the fish back in the water (They can’t be leave out of water for extended period of time).  I lay the fish on a slide then put a piece of moistened cotton ball on the head.  It servers two purpose: 1. Put some weight on the fish so it wouldn’t jump. 2. Prevent it from drying out too quickly (The fish won’t be able to breathe but I think a little bit moisture will help).  I tried to put the cover slide on but they were quickly move by fish’s powerful tail.  I end up not using the cover slide.  For this reason, the observation is only limited to 40X and 100X.  The working distance of 40X objective is too short. 

Guppy's fin at 40X

Guppy's fin at 40X

Guppy's fin at 100X

Guppy's fin at 100X

The blood circulation is recorded at 100X with Tucsen Microscope Camera.

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Damselfly is an aquatic insect.  Their naiads live in water. They develop through 10 to 12 immature stages (instars), depending on the species and habitat. The last immature stage crawls out of the water onto vegetation before the adult emerges.   The adults emerge  from water and live for a few weeks to a few months. Mating is unusual: males deposit sperm in a secondary genitalia structure on the second and third abdominal segment by bending the abdomen forward. The male then clasps the female behind the head with claspers on the tip of his abdomen and mating pairs can be seen flying in tandem. The female then loops her abdomen forward and picks up the sperm from the male. Eggs are deposited in emergent plants or floating vegetation or directly into the water. 

Nymph picture: 

damselfly naiad

damselfly naiad - picture was taken at 40X through the eyepiece of Nexcope CM701 microscope with Tucsen microscope camera

 Adult damselfly (Turquois Bluet damselfly – Enallagma divagans) under microscope 

Damselfly Adult head

Damselfly Adult head

damselfly abdomen - anal appendges

damselfly abdomen - anal appendges

Damselfly thorax and the first two segment of the abdomen

Damselfly thorax and the first two segment of the abdomen

 This damselfly appears to be a female.  There are two spikes on the anal appendges but it seems to be too short to hold the female for mating.  The second segment of the abdomen does not have the structure for dispensing the sperms. 

Part of damselfly forewing

Part of damselfly forewing

Part of damselfly forewing

Part of damselfly forewing

Damselfly thorax side view

Damselfly thorax side view

Damselfly thorax top view

Damselfly thorax top view

Damselfly are closely related to anothe aquatic insects, dragonfly. The damselfly has: 

  • long and slender body
  • eyes are clearly separated
  • all wings are in similar shape and size
  • when rest the wings are held close and upright on the top of the abdomen
  • The naiad are also slender and breath through gills

The dargonfly: 

  • usually stocky
  • eyes are touched and on the top of  the head
  • Dissimilar wing pairs
  • when rest, the wing held open, horizontally or downward
  • The naiad has stock body and breath through rectal tracheal gill

You are are living in Georgia, USA or southeast georgia.  Here are the website for our local dragonfly and damselfly websites: 

Dragonfly and Damselfly in Georgia 

Dragonfly and Damselfly of Georgia and southeast by Giff Beaton

Books:
Dragonflies And Damselflies of Georgia And the Southeast (A Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book) (A Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book) (A Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book)

Dragonflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America (Butterflies and Others Through Binoculars Field Guide Series)

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Copepods are a group of small crustacean, ranges from 1 to 2 mm.  They were commonly found in fresh water ponds.  The shape of copepods are like rain drops.  They are characterized by a single simple eye in the middle of the head.  The female copepods sometime carry the some eggs in clusters of egg sacs that are attached to the base of the abdomen.

Copepods female

Copepods female

Copepod egg sacs

Copepod egg sacs

Copepod

Copepod and eggs scattered around it

water mite (in question)

copepod nauplius

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While experimenting with my home made dark field.  I captured a molting Daphnia.

A molting Daphnia is still in its old outfit.

a molting Daphnia is trying to shack off its old shell.

This Daphnia shell is finally came off.

This Daphnia shell is finally came off.

Daphnia and its old shell (exposure compensation -1)

Daphnia and its old shell

Daphnia and its old shell (exposure compensation -2)

Related Article: Home-made dark field microscopy

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Ostradcods are a common crustacean, sometime also known as seed shrimp.  Like their names imply, they are very small.  Their typical size ranges from 0.2 mm to 30mm.    Seed shrimps are protected by a bivalve-like shell.  The hinge of the two valves are fused on the top of dorsal region of the body.      

While looking into the recent pond water sample, I can clearly see some little creature clinging to the side of the container occasionally jumped and swam like copepods.  Curiously about what this is, I syphon one of this little creature and place it on a 96 well plate.  It looks like a clam but some tentacle and appendages coming out of the shell.  With the help from the friends from yahoo amateur_microscope group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Amateur_Microscopy/message/4713) .  It is identified as ostracod. 

Ostracod at 40x

Ostracod at 40x. The size of this ostracod is about 650 um. Legs and tentacles are coming out of the shell.

ostracod at 100x

ostracod at 100x - top view

ostracod side view

ostracod side view

The shell of the seed shrimp was crushed. It revealed that there is a crusacean inside rather than Mollusca.

See Shrimp Eggs

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I continue to discover different microorganisms in my black hair algea, Tokophyra.  There are twenty or so tenticles slowly stretching in and out from both arms.  These tenticles can secret toxins in haptocysts (little ball at the end of the tenticles) and are used by Tokophyra to pray on other protozoa.

Tokophrya

Tokophrya at 400X

Some Background from Wikipedia:

Tokophrya is a genus of Suctoria which are sessile, feed by extracellular digestion and lack cilia in the adult phase (  Once the swarmers have found a place to attach themselves, they quickly develop stalks and tentacles. The cilia are lost, but the underlying infraciliature persists throughout the entire life-cycle.)  They are found in both freshwater and marine environments.  They typically feed on other ciliates. Instead of a single cytostome, each cell feeds by means of several specialized tentacles. These are supported by microtubules and phyllae, and have toxic extrusomes called haptocysts at the tip which attach to prey. Its cytoplasm is then sucked directly into a food vacuoles inside the cell, where its contents are digested and absorbed.

Suctoria reproduce primarily by budding, producing swarmers which lack both tentacles and stalks but have cilia. They may also reproduce through conjugation, which is peculiar in involving cells of different size and often involves total fusion. The way in which buds are formed is the primary way the different orders of suctoria are distinguished.

Another article from Micscape about Suctoria:

Suctoria by Jean-Marie Cavanihac, France

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