SOME ENIGMATIC RADIOLARIA

by Wim van Egmond, The Netherlands

 

Photographed with a 40X obj. (D.I.C.) 
Some time ago my fellow Micscape contributor Brian Darnton send me some samples of fossil radiolaria from Barbados. I got quite intrigued by these small three-dimensional houses of single cellular marine protists. The variety of styles of architecture is amazing. 

I think most microscopists are familiar with radiolaria. Many radiolaria are cylindrical or spherical. But while looking at a collection of radiolaria in a petri dish I noticed that not all specimen look like those archetype radiolaria. In this small article I like to show some of the unusual shapes I encountered.

 
 

Photographed with a 10X obj. (D.I.C.) 
The top image shows a very small flat elliptical radiolaria. The shallow depth of field of the image shows how thin tubes radiate from the small lobed structure in the center.

The mounted fossils on the left image I arranged in a pattern to show the variety within one species. I am not even sure if they are radiolaria. Since I don't have any books on the subject I could not verify. These could well be sponge spicules. Can anyone help identifying them?

The bottom radiolaria look a bit like diatoms but they have two holes. If you look closer you'll see all kinds of interesting details. Click for close up in new window!

 

 
I am still trying to make good slides of radiolaria. It is not easy to make permanent mounts. I am still improving my technique and hope to write a bit more about making mounts of radiolaria in a future Miscape article. 

If you like to see another nice design, in my last article for Micscape about combining focus layers I used a nice star-shaped radiolaria to show how to enhance depth of field using 2 images.

More later! 


Photographed with a 20X obj. (D.I.C.) Click for close up in new window!
 

All comments to the author Comments to the author sent via our contacts page quoting page url plus : ('egmond','')">Wim van Egmond are welcomed.

Visit Wims home page for links to his many web pages on microscopy

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Published in the November 2001 edition of Micscape Magazine.

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