Week of worms

The juxtaposition of blog entries about recipes and worms is purely coincidence. (Really.)
But since you’re not going to eat breakfast anyway, behold the latest squirmy thing found while making a wet mount from a leaf plucked from Lake Sammamish. (Thumbnail photos below the fold. Click-through for the larger image.)

This is taken at 20x magnification. The darkest lines are the structure of the leaf. The lighter brown, stringy thing in the middle is a worm. Its head is on the bottom left.
The “head” is easier to see at 100x magnification. When looking at the real thing, the worm’s transparency lets one follow the flow of the dark chunks (food) through its body. The little dark dot near the top, left side of the head are ganglia (its nervous system).
Also at 100x magnification, we see the worm’s “output” near its aft section.

This is the week of worms. On Tuesday, I saw a program on aptosis, or programmed cell death. The program was edutainment, but what piqued my interest was the mention of C. elegans. In particular, seeing the cell lineage and rough time sequence of all 959 total somatic cells seemed so mind-bogglingly cool. And it’s on T-shirts!

Edit: 6/29/2007 check out the short videos of the worm eating (standard MPEG2 format, plays in WiMP; right click save as): 100x view (10Mb) and 20x view (4.4Mb).

3 thoughts on “Week of worms”

  1. Wow.. that’s an impressive microscope (and I love that you can get digital images out of it)! Is this a toy for you or for your kids? 🙂

  2. Doug You’d be surprised how often I get that response. 😉

    Kiri Yes. The camera plugs in place of the eyepiece and can record animations.

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