I thought I’d share this very interesting video of some sort of very small aquatic flatworm (Platyhelminthes) taken under the microscope. This link was originally posted on the photomacrography.net forum in the Photography Through the Microscope gallery. There is no music or commentary…just neat footage of a fascinating creature. It looks to me as if it has a double proboscis…but I have never heard of that before in flatworms…
There are lots of other interesting critters in the background too.
These pictures are of a young Mexican red-kneed tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) that I bought quite some time ago. It was one of a number of critters that I talked about in this post: A scorpion, a white box and 15 minutes.
The spider is about three inches across. When I first got it its colours were drab and some of the urticating hairs on its abdomen were rubbed-off (urticating hairs are irritating bristles that can be kicked off by the tarantula as a defence). I didn’t want to photograph the little beast until it moulted and had a nice bright new and complete skin.
Young Mexican red-kneed tarantula and shed skin shortly after moulting
As I said, I bought this spider to photograph, but it is also an interesting critter. I chose this particular species for several reasons: they are easy to keep in captivity; they are very pretty, and they are docile. Some tarantulas can be very fast, aggressive and/or nervous. I do a lot of my photography on the kitchen table and didn’t want something that would take off and disappear under the fridge the moment I picked-up my camera! Besides, since buying this spider we added two young cats to the household—they would love a young tarantula to play with. Mind you, the cats may have solved the other problem: they keep chasing their toys under the fridge. There might not be room for a tarantula under there anymore.
But I digress…
I photographed the tarantula in the same white box that I have used to take so many of the photos I have posted here (see: How to: white box photography of Macleay’s spectre stick insects). The odd thing is that I wanted a docile spider, but this one is almost too calm! I put it in the white box and it just sat there. It was certainly easy to photograph, but I had to encourage it to change positions. In fact the only time I ever see this spider move quickly is when it is after prey (kind of like me, I rarely move too fast unless there is food involved). Maybe next time I photograph this tarantula I’ll offer it a cricket…
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus E-620 digital SLR
Lens: Zuiko 35mm macro
Settings: manual exposure (F14 @ 1/125 sec)
Lighting: on-camera flash (full power)
If you’re afraid of spiders or worms, or are easily grossed-out, you might not want to watch this video. But it is fascinating in a disturbing way to see what a huge worm emerges from the corpse of the spider. Apparently the worm in question is a horsehair or Gordian worm (phylum Nematomorpha). As adults these critters are free-living, but their larvae are parasites of certain arthropods (including spiders it seems). There are about 2000 species which range from 50 to 200 centimetres (79 inches) long (yikes!).
The really disturbing part of this video is the author’s indiscriminate use of insecticide! As fascinating as it is to watch the worm emerge, there was no reason to kill the spider in the first place. In my home small spiders are welcome to hang out and large ones are shooed out the door and back into the yard…