All posts by Johann Swanepoel

Extreme Macro Photograph – Ant Eye

An ant’s head contains many sensory organs. Like most insects, ants have compound eyes made from numerous tiny lenses attached together.

Ant eyes are good for acute movement detection, but do not offer a high resolution image. They also have three small ocelli (simple eyes) on the top of the head that detect light levels and polarization.

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Compared to vertebrates, most ants have poor-to-mediocre eyesight and a few subterranean species are completely blind.

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Lacrymaria olor – one of the most bizarre animals alive

Lacrymaria olor is a protozoan, typically 100 micrometers (0.10 mm) long, that is found in freshwater ponds. Its name means “swan tear” in Latin, and refers to its general shape: namely, a teardrop-shaped body with a small “head” at the end of a long slender “neck”.

The animal is notable for its ability to extend the neck up to 7 times its body length, and manipulate in many directions — even around obstacles — in order to capture its food.

If you look closely you may see one snatching a meal.

Extreme Macro Photograph – The Fly

True flies are insects of the order Diptera, the name being derived from the Greek di = two, and ptera = wings. Insects of this order use only a single pair of wings to fly, the hindwings being reduced to club-like balancing organs known as halteres.

Diptera is a large order containing an estimated 1,000,000 species.

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This extreme macro photograph by Johann Swanepoel was created by combining over 200 individual images in order to provide the size and depth required.

 

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Vorticella – fastest organism on the planet

Vorticella is considered one of the fastest biological springs on the planet. It is a protozoa and only about 40 micrometers in size. It is able to contract it’s stalk in 1/60th of a second.

Blink and you’ll miss it.

Here 3 of them are entangled, triggering each other to all contract at the same time. The result is probably the fastest synchronized swimming event ever recorded  🙂

Insect Larva – catching and eating a nematode

A larva (plural larvae /ˈlɑːrv/) is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle.

The larva’s appearance is generally very different from the adult form (e.g. caterpillars and butterflies). A larva often has unique structures and organs that do not occur in the adult form. Their diet may also be considerably different.

The mostly unseen world in a drop of water houses a micro universe of life. Here is a seldom seen interaction of an insect larva catching  and eating a nematode. All this happens at a scale that is not visible to the human eye.

 

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