My kids love messing around with our microscope. The other day we looked at some stagnant water from a poorly draining flower pot to see what we could see. Using my iPhone at the eyepiece, similar to what I did with the telescope for the Super Moon the other day, I shot a few amateurish images of the protozoa we found.

First was this, what my kids referred to as slugs because of how they moved:

Then, before our eyes, it did this: 

We witnessed the death of the poor microscopic critter, may she rest in peace.

The next photo is of a thing called a rotifer. The flat end looks like it is spinning and they zoom around quite fast…

Kinda makes you want to wash your hands more often, especially after working out in the garden!


92 thoughts on “Micromanaging

  1. Hey Victo πŸ™‚

    How clever! How fascinating! And just a little ewww πŸ™‚ Excellent photography Victo, and a delightful counterpart to the image you captured of the Moon. Thank you for both πŸ™‚ I’ll be sure to wash my hands far more often!

    If interested…I wondered if you had ever seen this interactive camera fly-through. It’s called The Scale of the Universe, and I find it humbling. The blurb on the site reads as follows – ‘an inspiring interactive animation by Cary Huang, displaying an entertaining and detailed comparison between different creatures and objects that exists within our universe. Starting at the microscopic scale of DNAs and nuclei up to the colossal scales of stars and galaxies, shinning an immense contrast on the size of a human being compared to just about everything else’. Hope you enjoy πŸ™‚


    Have a wonderful weekend. Take care πŸ™‚


    DN – 25/11/2016

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  2. Since I had Giardia (for five years), I have become more accustomed to the Monsters inside us… The Giardia amoeba is quite pretty compared to some. Teddy currently has ringworm in his bottom, so it is definitely a good idea to WASH YOUR HANDS. πŸ˜†

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    • Oh Kerry I so feel for you. My middle son had Giardia when he was in preschool. Because of the stomach upset he was not allowed to go to daycare. I can’t remember how it happened but a nurse from the Dept of Health came calling and told me I would have to collect samples from me, and my 3 sons until it was deemed everyone was cleared. I was beside myself because, and this is gonna sound silly since I had kids, but one of my major phobias is feces. I almost had a nervous breakdown but somehow made it through.

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      • That can be so serious in a child – glad you all survived. I don’t really have a feces issue but couldn’t figure out how to catch a sample without getting urine mixed up. Someone had given us a plastic Abe Lincoln hat for Andy’s naturalization party. It was the perfect size to catch the poop (once situated in the toilet) and is now stored as the stool hat. I used to think I got it just as I was leaving Cairo from the cats but now I know how common it is the US, that perhaps I got it here?

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      • Yeah I hadn’t heard of it until my son got it. I don’t think me and my other 2 sons were affected but b/c it’s so contagious our county health dept. had to make sure it was contained. Since my youngest was still, wearing diapers collecting his samples was easy. For the rest of us I used a sitz bath and kept plenty of clorox on hand. For a germaphobe this was my worst nightmare. It shouldn’t have been surprising though b/c this kiddo had ADHD to the nth degree and even had shingles at a very young age.

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      • Ah, it is a very common parasite – nothing to worry about unless you have OCD! Do you remember when kids used to get scabies, lice and impetigo? Perhaps that was more common in Scotland, where we even had rickets. No one believes me when I say it was a poor country in the 60s. Sorry, Steph, you will probably go to bed scratching. πŸ˜†

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  3. Rotifers are so cool to watch! It’s awesome that you have a microscope for your kids to play with!! I’ve been working on a series of illustrations inspired by what I’ve seen in the microscope, and I just finished a rotifer! I try to show these critters in a less abstract way, though I’m not sure they come out looking any less scary to be honest. For everyone who is freaked out though: the creepy soil critters are our best friends and allies. Without them we wouldn’t be able to survive; we’d be surrounded by dead things and the soil wouldn’t support plant life! Some soil microbes even have an effect similar to antidepressants, so it’s ok to get your hands dirty πŸ˜‰ Your body is already covered in microbes anyway so no point worrying about it. Here is my rotifer illustration πŸ™‚ https://artborean.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/the-animal-with-two-wheels-on-its-face/

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  4. great pictures. They remind me of a science fair in the Netherlands where they provided a scanner to measure the microbes in your body and show magnified pictures of the ones on your skin. It was meant to be a “microbes are your friends” story but it freaked people out.

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  5. Ahh – this brings back memories. My Mum and I used to go out and collect pond water in the spring for tadpoles (she is a Cellular Biologist – I have spent my life gathering water samples in little plastic bags) – problem is we didn’t time it very well, and ended up with mosquito larvae as well, which happily hatched and flew about the house. Great photos, by the way!!! From an I-phone, go figure!!!???

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    • Mosquitos suck, in more way than one! iPhones are just amazing. I used to marvel at how far we had come in my grandparents’ lifetime time but dang if we haven’t don’t some amazing things in the time I’ve been alive. Makes you wonder about what the kids today are going to see in their own lifetime. πŸ™‚

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  6. Curious mind would like to know of often you clean your stethoscope between patients? I got into the habit of wiping mine with Isopropyl Alcohol when working in SICU in between patients. I cringed seeing where some stethoscopes went, then back around a neck, and then on the next patient. I actually became one of those nurses who insisted doctor and nurse be aware and to wipe stethoscopes to prevent germ spread.

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  7. I will not tolerate any complaint from your kids in the next 25 years.
    (What other mother would have a microscope to show them what lurks beneath the surface?)
    Good job.
    (There was a classic protozaorian thing to watch under the microscope, with “cils” to move around. I forgot its name. Something with a d?)

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      • You are so absolutely right. (And based on personal evidence, right?) I did not realize how much of a fairy tale my childhood was until much later, in adulthood. I was very lucky. Then tried to make as close a fairy tale childhood for my own kids. Went reasonably well, but then again we were lucky, and I always told my daughters that they were lucky. My grandfather was blue collar. My father never finished college because of WWII. So the lifestyle we have is because my daughters’ ancestors worked their ass off. (Like you are V.)
        Be good.

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