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UCL Culture Blog


News and musings from the UCL Culture team


I Spy With My Little Eye*

By Mark Carnall, on 15 February 2013

It’s very much Micrarium week here at the Grant Museum. We’ve heard from Jack Ashby about what it’s all about, this month’s Underwhelming Fossil Fish of The Month can be found hidden amongst the other slides and museum assistant Emma-Louise Nicholls pays too much attention to my barnet.

Now it’s my turn and I’ve picked just some of the slides you might wish to try to find next time you are down at the Grant Museum.

As well as February’s Underwhelming Fossil Fish of The Month, I’m happy to report that the world’s saddest microscope slideTM also made it into the Micrarium. Here’s some others you might like to spot.

Flatworm in section showing internal organs

Flatworm in section showing internal organs. It’s easy to think of invertebrates as simple and not ‘complex’. This beautiful slide shows the intricacies of a flatworm’s inner anatomy.

Horse leech sections

These horse leech sections mimic a mini monograph plate showing the head and body of a leech in cross and transverse section

Flea legs artistically arranged

Looking at the Micrarium it’s easy to picture scientists in labcoats slaving away to unlock the secrets of microscopic animals. This slide of flea legs shows an artistic flourish and a skilled hand

Microscope slide showing a Great Diving Beetle larva trachea

Again, the handiwork required to dissect out and preserve the trachea of a Great Diving Beetle larva boggles the mind.

Microscope slide showing a fairy shrimp

Stranger than fiction this fairy shrimp resembles the prehistoric predator Anomalocaris

Spiny lobster larva

This spiny lobster larva is the stuff of nightmares. I’ll leave you to work out where the business end is…

Microscope slide shoiwng a bed bug

Apparently, they are back on the rise, this is a slice of bed bug. One can only wonder where it was sourced from.

Slide showing a leaf of a sea pen

Plants aren’t the only organisms to have leaves as this sea pen leaf section demonstrates.

Microscope slide of ribbon worm in section

Another of the many different kinds of worm. This one is a ribbon worm showing the brain and digestive tract

Whole sea spider

What initially looks like a cracked microscope slide is in fact a sea spider, related to the bath dwellers but not ‘true’ spiders.

Mammoth hair in section

Amongst all the invertebrates we’ve scattered small bits of large animals. These barely visible dots are mammoth hairs in section

Microscope slide showing the cartilage of a cat foot

Another small bit of big animal. Resembling an X-ray, this cat paw has been stained to show the cartilage

Microscope slide of presumably a dog ovary

Lastly, I think this slide of a dog ovary would make a great T-shirt.

This is just a small number of slides that piqued my interest whilst we were installing the Micrarium, there’s thousands more on display the team here can be occassionally found marveling at the beautiful, weird and wonderful microscopic animals. Good luck trying to find these in the display!

* I was going to go for a Where’s Wally? pun but out of 2323 microscope slides not one comes close to fitting the pun. At least not in a way that would make sense. The closest was Where’s Wal(rus tusk section)-ly?

One Response to “I Spy With My Little Eye*”

  • 1
    DHLinton wrote on 15 February 2013:

    I think I really do want a T-shirt that says “ovary, bitch.”

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