Saturday, April 10, 2010

A new toy

I have acquired a new toy in the shape of a digital microscope wired up to the computer.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but hopefully it will enable me to share some of the smaller creatures I come across with you.

As well as scanning over things, it is easy to capture a still, or even a video, and this can then be tidied up and kept on the computer.

My first effort (and I am sure quality will improve) was of the coffin fly Megaselia ciliaris (Diptera: Phoridae).

Megaselia ciliaris

Only about 2mm long, I found several in one of my traps over a stack of decaying logs in the garden.  Megaselia is a huge genus and identification is often difficult as the flies normally have to be mounted on a microscope slide like this one and often dissected to see some of the smaller features.

One of the distinctive features of this species is the partially yellow front legs.

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