Mystery object in honey pollen sample

by Gerald Legg, UK



Editor's note: Gerald Legg sent us this interesting query and he would welcome comments from readers on the mystery object's likely identification. Gerald's website is also well worth a visit where he shares both his various professional and enthusiast interests in natural history, including arachnology and pseudoscorpions.

Gerald writes:

As a microscopist (part of my job and also my spare time) I came across an odd 'spear' whilst carrying out some honey pollen analysis. The 'spear' part is about 60 µm (you can see some out of focus pollen grains circa 20µm), the entire structure extends to over 200 µm and is characterised by the lateral processes visible along its length.

I think it must be an insect, or perhaps other arthropod seta (opilionids have pretty strange setae). However, I thought I'd send the image for your consideration and thinking perhaps it could be put on the Microscopy-UK site.

The image was taken using oil immersion phase contrast, Reichert Zetopan.

Dr Gerald Legg
Keeper of Natural Sciences
Booth Museum of Natural History

  All comments to Gerald Legg are welcomed.


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Published in the February 2006 edition of Micscape Magazine.

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