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Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Hello fellow microscope hobbyists, I am starting my new post at blogger.com.  See the pictures of my latest field trip mineral collection from Chucky Gal Mountain, North Carolina here.

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It’s summer.  You can hear cricket chirping when you sit in your backyard listen to the surronding quietly.  The kids are in the summer break.  It’s perfect time to take kids to go on the fields to collect some insects and bring home for observation.

What we brought with us:

Inect collection net and collection container

Megan was carrying an insect collection net and container

If you plan to preserve the specimen, a killing jar is better than the collection container that Megan took with her.  She like to oberve them moving around so a collection container working just fine.  The contain has a small opening allow you to put insects but more difficult for insects to get out.

Small tubes or Vials

Small tubes or Vials allows you to put small insects, such as leaf hopper, ants or flies.

Triangle Envelope

Triangle Envelope made by semi-transparent paper. You can put butterfly in the envelope to prevent it damage the wing while trying to escape.

Of course, it is hot and humid during the summer.  Don’t forget to bring sun cream, hat and plenty of water.

Insect collection net is the essential tool for collecting insect. The perfect method is the draw a number eight horizontally with the net’s opening pointing to the direction of moving direction. Let the net move through the area that you want to collect. Megan was on the first insect collection field trip. She is getting better use of the net. She has an excellent close-out move that close up the net to prevent the insect from escaping.

Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

a Grasshopper

a Grasshopper (It was molted right after we brought it home)

After we brought them home, we wanted to seem them in details.  A stereo microscope (or so-called low power microscope) is perfect for this purpose.

Stereo Microscope

Stereo Microscope is perfect microscope for observing insects.

In the picture is an Ample Scientific SM Plus Stereo Microscope. It equiped both top and bottom light. The observation surface is made of semi-reflectory mirrow which allows some top light to reflect from the bottom)

Butterfly Preservation

Butterfly Specimen Preparation

I made a simplified spreading board with styrophone with a central groove to allow the fat body to sit in.  I pinned the  butterfly through the middle of the thorax at the thickest part, slightly behind the base of the forewing then insert the pin into the center groove in the spreading board until the wings are level with the sides of the spreading board.  With the aid of an insect pin, adjust the front wing by gently pulling it forward, until the rear margin is at a right angle to the body of the butterfly. Pull the hind wing forward until the front margin is hidden beneath the front wing, and temporarily anchor it in the same manner as the front wing. Once the wings are in position, I placed strips of paper over the wings; anchor them firmly to the board.  Hopefully, the specimen will be ready in a week for display.

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As I googled around the internet, I found many pollen pictures are in stained hydrated form.  Out of curiosity, I wanted to compared my collection with what I found on the internet and my previous pollen photos.  I collected some more flowers and pollens from air as well.  The complete project can be found under project pages.

Pine Pollens

Pine Pollen at 400X in dry form

Pine Pollen at 400X in dry form (very unique micky mouse form)

Pine at 400X Stained with Malachite Green

Pine pollen in hydrated state at 400X Stained with Malachite Green

Oak Pollens

Oak Pollens in dry state at 400X

Oak Pollens in dry state at 400X

Oak Pollen in hydrated state at 400X stained with Malachite Green

Oak Pollen in hydrated state at 400X stained with Malachite Green (As the oak pollens are hydrated, they become rounded and completely different from their dry form)

Apple pollens

Apple Pollen in dry form at 400X

Apple Pollen in dry form at 400X

Apple pollen in hydrate form at 400X (stainded by Malachite_Green)

Apple pollen in hydrate form at 400X (stainded by Malachite_Green)

Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom

Azalea Pollens

 
 
 
 
 
 

Azalea pollen in dry from at 400X

Azalea pollen in dry from at 400X

Azalea pollens stained by Malachite Green in hydrate

Azalea pollens stained by Malachite Green in hydrate

Azalea

Azalea

Pollens at low power (40X)

Pollens collected and observed at low power at 40X - They are peaked a few days ago.

 Stacked Photos

Pine pollen in dry form stacked

Pine pollen in dry form stacked

Oak Pollen in Dry Form Stacked

Oak Pollen in Dry Form Stacked

Apple Pollen in Dry Form Stacked

Apple Pollen in Dry Form Stacked

Pictures are taken with Tucsen TCA-3.0C CMOS Microscope Camera from Nexcope CM701 microscope with the eyepiece removed and replaced with Tucsen relay lens.

Pollen collection kit

You don't need much to observe pollen under microscope. If you already have a microscope and slides, just run by the pet store and drug store to get those.

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Culturing Protozoa

Three weeks after I begin to culture the pond life, I finally saw the water of my “Carrot Soup” turned turbid. The density of the pond life in there is amazing.

Carrot Soup Day 1

Carrot Soup Day 14

Pond Life in Carrot Soup at 400x

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