Heart of an aquatic snail

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

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rjlittlefield
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Heart of an aquatic snail

Post by rjlittlefield »

I was dredging in a jar of drainage ditch water, hoping to find an amoeba or something else interesting.

No amoeba, but I'll take what turned up:

Image

It's a very small snail, bottom side up, seen here through a 20X objective (field diameter 0.8 mm). The shell was transparent, and to my considerable surprise, it was easy to see the little critter's heart beating inside.

Image

This animated gif hardly does justice to the action. See the movies instead: whole snail (1MB, wmv) and closeup of heart (1.5MB, wmv).

There is a brief description of snails very much like this one here. The heart is two-chambered -- one auricle, one ventricle.

--Rik
All images using Canon SD 700 IS movie mode, through eyepiece of microscope. Closeup of heart was shot by optically zooming the camera, same microscope settings.

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Interesting photo and videos Rik. The animated GIF works really well too and absolutely ideal for illustrating this sort of subject. You've inspired me to have a go at creating one myself.

Bruce

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Great video there Rik. :D I noticed in the first one, that there is a small, rather translucent object that crops up just between the left corner and center area. There are actually two of them but it is the first one that has me curious. The first object to appear, seems to be pulled in to the area of the heart as it is beating. What was that? :-k

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Ken, if I'm seeing what you're seeing, I think it's a small protozoan that got caught up in water current and got pulled into the cavity between the snail's body and its shell. It overlaps the heart from this viewing angle, but it's actually in front. I used a pretty small aperture to get as much DOF as possible while still getting a clear image at (only) 640x480 pixels. In that video, you can see that everything is pretty clear from the foot of the snail (on the underside of the cover glass) to about halfway through the critter.

--Rik

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

WOW...great work on this Rik..Excellent pictures and video
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

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