Butterfly eggs and other opaque subjects as microscopical objects.

by Mike Samworth

Recently I have had the good fortune to photograph some old slides. Amongst these were a number of opaque objects, and these are often neglected when people are using a compound or high powered microscope. This is a pity, and I hope my pictures in this article show that there is much to look at, including some detail.

Arranged butterfly eggs (Watson slide).

The above illustration shows a variety of butterfly eggs, beautifully arranged against a matt black background. Keen lepidopterists may be able to identify what butterflies they belong to. Others will just be happy to marvel at the inherent beauty in these finely sculptured objects, plus of course the skill of the mounter in arranging them.

More butterfly eggs.

I think some of these look more like pale green grapes or even gooseberries!

Flower seeds.

These are flower seeds, again arranged in a pattern. Apart from the skill and patience involved it is worth considering how well these preparations have lasted. I am certainly going to collect some small seeds this summer, with a view to trying my hand at making slides. I wonder if I will be able to organise myself well enough to make a note of the plant species as well!

Hummingbird feathers.

Lastly, some hummingbird feathers. I do hope that these were moulted feathers and not removed from the bird solely for the purpose of mounting.

All photomicrographs by Mike Samworth.

If any reader wishes to ask about any of the above, or to comment, please do get in touch by Comments to the author sent via our contacts page quoting page url plus : ('msamworth','')">contacting me.

Editor's note: Viewing opaque objects with a compound microscope is very easy, read a Micscape article on incident lighting.


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First published in July 1998 Micscape Magazine.

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