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Small Wonders: Science Meets Art under the Lens [Slide Show]

Light microscopy reveals hidden marvels of the natural world

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MOTH CATERPILLAR:

In a second micrograph made by Siwanowicz, a slug moth caterpillar prepares to bundle up in a silk cocoon for the last phase of its metamorphosis into the adult moth form. Each of its simple eyes has six dome-shaped lenses.....[ More ]

LEAF HAIRS:

Star-shaped hairs cover the leaves of the ornamental shrub Deutzia scabra . The hairs, which measure around 0.25 millimeter across, defend against grazing animals, wind, frost and ultraviolet radiation.....[ More ]

ZEBRA FISH EMBRYO:

Karen W. Dehnert, Scott T. Laughlin, Holly Aaron and Carolyn R. Bertozzi of the University of California, Berkeley, obtained this image of a live zebra fish embryo, 19 hours old, using 10× magnification while studying how the distribution of a class of carbohydrates containing a sugar known as fucose changes during development.....[ More ]

FERN SPORANGIA:

Inspect the underside of a fern frond, and you may find it covered with dark spots known as sori. Each sorus is made up of clusters of structures called sporangia that contain spores for reproduction.....[ More ]

BUTTERFLY WING:

The abstract beauty of a butterfly wing is revealed in this image by Sahar Khodaverdi, who is earning a master's degree in plant biology at the University of Tabriz in Iran. Butterfly wings are covered with delicate scales.....[ More ]

DIATOM REPRODUCTION:

The marine diatom Rhizosolenia setigera undergoes binary fission, a type of asexual reproduction in which a mother cell divides into two daughter cells. The golden structures are chloroplasts, bodies that carry out photosynthesis.....[ More ]

RETINAL ASTROCYTES:

A tapestry of cells in a mouse retina reveals a network of spidery astrocytes ( black ) that balances the amounts of ions and water in the space around neurons ( orange ) and their axons ( green ). The arms of the astrocytes wrap around blood vessels, which appear as vertical black “roads,” creating a physical and chemical barrier that determines which molecules reach the neurons.....[ More ]

ALOIN CELLS:

Botanist Anatoly I. Mikhaltsov of the Children's Ecological and Biological Center in Omsk, Russia, was studying the anatomy of Aloe erinacea , an endangered species of aloe endemic to Namibia, when he captured this image of the plant's aloin cells ( blue )—which secrete a component of the gel-like sap that oozes from an aloe's severed leaf—using a coloring method that he developed.....[ More ]

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