Spider's exoskeleton under electron microscope

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

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JMak
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Spider's exoskeleton under electron microscope

Post by JMak »

Edit - I had to remove some images due to the 6-photo per post limit.

I got the opportunity to use the Hitachi TM3000 SEM in the lab today, so I got some dead insect parts from a spider web attached to a tree, and here are some of the pictures. The annotations show the magnification and scale.

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Spider exoskeleton. Six images taken at 200x and stitched together.

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A similar area this time taken in 1 shot at 80x.

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The central area of the exoskeleton.

Image

Image
Different virtual lighting settings were chosen here to show other details.

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A hairy leg!

Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Craig Gerard
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Post by Craig Gerard »

James,

It's good to see what a tabletop SEM can deliver in regard to images. :)


Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

sonyalpha
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Post by sonyalpha »

To a layman...... this wonderful set confirms just why many people are scared of or just dislike spiders.........they must be one of the spikiest, prickly things on the planet............not at all cuddly:

I guess that we must be grateful that nature hasn't made them on our human scale:

The technicalities of microscopy and all those Latin names mean little to me at my age (educated in England during the 1940s-1950s)............but the detail seen here I love to explore:

Thank you for sharing and for being such an inspiration to students of microscopy:

sonyalpha
Retired but not old in spirit:

Fairly new to photography........keen to learn:

Perl
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Post by Perl »

Hi

Well - Like the Light microscope picture more

Regards
Pär Lundqvist
****** Seeing is Believing ******

JMak
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Post by JMak »

Thanks for the comments. I have to agree with Perl, there is no substitute for stacked colour images from a light microscope.

This SEM can be bought for £48,000 - just think, in 10 or so years, they might be cheap enough to have at home! The only real technical part once you have your electron gun and large CCD, is that a processor has to work out the path of the electrons, and processors roughly halve in price each year. 10 years ago, SEMs would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions.

James

ABEL
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Post by ABEL »

To have an electronic microscope ¡that great project ¡

¡The images, extraordinary ¡

JMak
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Post by JMak »

Thanks Abel!

I could have zoomed up to 30,000x but at that magnification, you are just looking at textures really. :)

I would like to add, the top stitched picture ended up being 4.6 Megapixels. The original images were 1280x1040 pixels (1.3 MP - this must be the sensor size).

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

I always look at electron microscope images with awe and some mixed emotions. One emotion is envy! :wink: . How can you look at these and not lament the fact once a certain level of magnification is reached this amount of detail is simply not possible with full-spectrum light. I'm always amazed at the details to be seen.

On the other hand it does introduce a certain "distance" between subject and viewer. For me there is a sense that... "this is real... but you can't see it or experience it without the intervention an unnatural (for us humans) complex method of seeing". Ironically, although done in an attempt to make them appear more natural, this may be even more true of the highly computer colorized SEM shots. Natural colors carry a great deal of satisfying information and the feeling of "reality". While some might argue that the "unnatural" aspect can also be true with certain light-microscope techniques such as phase contrast, there are other light-microscope techniques that maintain the sense of reality and intimacy. (I think this accounts for the great appeal of many darkfield microscope shots, since in many way they seem to appear "closest" to the way we normally see physical objects). And since I like observing live "pond life" and protists, with many electron-microscope shots of such subjects there can be a feeling of observing a miniature crumpled up "road-kill". That's why (again, at least for me) some of the most satisfying light-microscope images are of live protists and other micro-creatures, swimming around, doing their "thing", and imaged via the use of electronic flash. For example, it's much more satisfying to see a good electronic flash shot of the metachronal motion of the cilia of a rotifer (even though much of it is unavoidably out of focus) in a living subject, than the (albeit far more detailed) rendition of an electron-microscope shot of a rumpled looking specimen. But... if I was curious about the appearance of the specific location where one individual cilium attached to the corona of a rotifer (or I was seriously trying to study the attachment point "mechanics")... then there is no question about which "tool" would be the best for that purpose. So they are different tools that have their individual strengths.

Would I like to be able to image with an electron microscope in addition to the light-microscope... you bet! Would I be willing to give up light-microscopes and only use an electron-microscope? It's not a realistic question, but the answer would be no.

JMak
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Post by JMak »

Charles,

I looked at your galleries and they are amazing.

Living subjects are much more interesting I agree, because you get to see the behaviour of life on a totally different scale, and it's weird but wonderful to watch.

Observing at the details of dead creatures or anything natural under the microscope comes in second to living things. In distant last place is man-made things - these are boring and featureless in comparison to something natural. We just see how inferior man-made things are compared to nature's creations. :D

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