The next time you find yourself becoming mosquito chow, remember this video: This is Strelkovimermis spiculatis -- a parasitic nematode, or roundworm -- casually escaping from an unlucky, soon-to-be-expired mosquito larva...
Mosses, which probably already have an inferiority complex, must feel especially inferior in Sequoia National Park. When you stand in the shadows of giants, how will you ever get noticed?If you are lucky, someone like Lena Coleman will come to your rescue.You may have recently read David Quammen's wonderful profile of The President, the second-largest tree on Earth and a resident of Sequoia National Park...
This curious creature, captured here under the microscope, is not a protist. It's an animal. An animal, in fact, that can be smaller than some unicellular microbes.
The beech orange, likely Cyttaria darwinii. These were sprouting near Ushuala in southern Argentina. Image courtesy Bruce Muller; used with permission.
Thermococcus gammatolerans -- a flagellate archaeon that thrives in hot, oxygen-starved waters. Note the tuft of flagella. This microbe lives in water hotter than about 160F.
An aplacophoran cuddled up with a bubblegum coral, according to Alistair Dove at Deep Sea News. NOAA Okeanos Explorer; public domain. Click image for source.
Toxic "parasporal" crystals of Bacillus thuringiensis. Jim Buckman/ P.R. Johnston. Public domain. In this photograph are elegant, microscopic agents of death.
The Ediacaran fossils Dickinsonia (big guys) and Parvancorina (little shield-shaped guy at lower left). Photo by Gregory Retallack. Does these look like lichens to you?
Conifers of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres: Pinus ponderosa (my all-time favorite, among some smaller spruces and firs) in California and Araucaria angustifolia in Brazil.
"Ghosts" of Mycoplasma mobile -- stripped down cytoskeleton covered in the tattered remains of the cell membrane. Source: Nakane and Miyata 2007.
Spores of Exserohilum rostratum, stained blue. Notice the brown pigment of the cell walls; this is melanin, the same pigment that darkens human skin.
The primary culprit in the recent flare-up caused by tainted steroids, Exserohilum rostratum, is not an especially picky eater. Although the fungus prefers grasses, it will dine on many items—including humans...
Heterosigma akashiwo -- a protist that can have its photosynthesis and eat other things too. Note the prominent chloroplasts plastered around the inside wall of the cell.
Blogger's note: I'm still away from the blog taking care of important life stuff, but I'll be back soon! This post originally appeared on March 28, 2010.
Blogger's note: I'm still away from the blog for a few weeks. In the meantime, here is another post from the Artful Amoeba archive. It originally appeared on October 4, 2010.
Blogger's note: I am away for the next several weeks. In the meantime, I'm bringing you some classic Artful Amoeba posts. This one was originally posted on January 18, 2010.
Blogger's note: I am going to be out of blog contact for the next several weeks as I get hitched (yay!), honeymoon (double yay!), and move (goodbye Colorado!
This book has taken up residence on my bookshelf alongside my well-loved copy of Mushrooms of Colorado and my sexy black 50's-era ex-University of Nebraska microscope.
The iconic Amanita muscaria. You may have seen some smurfs living in one of these. Public domain; click image for link. Amanita mushrooms -- like all creatures -- rot, but most of them can't rot other things.The fact that they don't rot other things is not news to biologists, who have long known that many, if not most, fungi have become professional partners with trees, plants, or algae.The fact that they can't rot other things -- as reported in July in PLoS ONE -- is news, and provides a clue to how symbiotic partnerships can withstand the temptations of leaving and the sometimes dissonant interests of their symbiotic partners...
It's a bit embarrassing to admit you were recently on your hands and knees excitedly filming a cow pie. But I was.And the reason was this: Here's another one found nearby: There were five or six of these polka-dotted mounds in close proximity...