16 December 2013

Monday microbugs: Looking through my new AmScope

Posted by Callan Bentley

Recently, I bought a microscope for home use. This has been a longtime goal for me. I’ve dreamed of having my own microscope the way some guys fantasize about a Porsche 911.

It’s an AmScope model, and it has an attachment for a small digital camera that comes with the scope. While the scope is lots of fun, though a little small, I’ll admit that I’m not too impressed with the camera. It’s pretty pixelated and grainy, and focuses in on a very small portion (less than 10%, I’d guess) of the field of view in the scope when the camera is not inserted. So, with that in mind, here are a few close-up shots I took of three insects…

First, the compound eye of an ichneumonid wasp:


Here’s a little video showing the effect of changing the focus while shooting a digital movie:



Next, a moth… First, the eye:


And, second, the proboscis, all coiled up:


Next, consider this cute little green bug (a true bug, a hemipteran)… This shot is with a regular camera, to establish a sense of scale for the ensuing images…


You can see that he’s just over a centimeter long. Now, let’s go to the microscope…

Head, ventral surface, focus on eye:


Head, ventral surface, focus on the proboscis:


Head, dorsal surface, focus on eye:


Head, left side, focus on eye:


Terminus of the leg (“foot”??):


More leg-ends, with bristles and claws…


Here’s a video showing changing focus on the head…