Last week I gave you this delightful jar of ‘cave snot’ to have a go at identifying:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, nobody came close to identifying what this is. I didn’t have a clue until I dived in and dissected out a small sample:
Notice the little critter on the left of the image? This immediately made it much more obvious what this stuff was – not something living in its own right but something produced by an animal.
Removing the goop reveals what we’re really dealing with:
I think I’ve given you all the images needed to work out what this is, so rather than just tell you, I’m making this part 2 of the mystery object, with quite a lot more to go on than the first post. So, as usual, you can put your questions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below. Have fun!
As I’ve mentioned before, for the last few months I’ve been feverishly moving objects for a gallery lighting project.
That’s pretty much done now (and looking great) so now I’m feverishly moving the Dead Zoo’s collection of over a million insects out to a new home in the National Museum of Ireland’s Collections Resource Centre.
So this week I have an insect for you to identity, which should provide a bit of a colourful change from the usual vertebrate bones:
For some of you this may be way too easy, for others, way too hard. It help to know that this was collected in India and it’s around 25-30mm long.
I hope you have fun identifying it!
This week I was worried that I didn’t have a mystery object planned, but then I stumbled across this on my phone:
It’s probably a bit too easy for some of you, so I’d encourage using some cryptic clues and hints to say what it is in the comments box below.
I’ve had a problem with spam comments recently and have switched on a filter to ensure that people’s first posts are approved (regular posters shouldn’t be affected) – fear not, I will be keeping an eye on it and approving first timers!
Last week I gave you this specimen from the Grant Museum of Zoology Micrarium to try your hand at identifying:
I enjoyed the variety of entertaining answers, ranging from a preschool drawing of a grandma with a beehive hairdo to a larval Alien, but I was also impressed by the range of cryptic clues about the identity of the specimen.
A favourite was a reference to “dealing with a pea covering” or variations on that theme, which gives us “Cope” and “pod”, which is what this is – a Copepod (which means “oar-foot” in Greek). For those of you unfamiliar with copepods are small crustaceans, many of which live as zooplankton and that as a group may make up the majority of the Earth’s animal biomass. They’re tiny, but there are countless billions of them.
This one isn’t as tiny as many of its relatives, because it has a rather different lifestyle to planktonic forms. This is a sea louse and it’s a parasite of fish. They feed on the mucus, skin and blood of fish and if they reach high levels of infestation they can be a real problem, potentially killing fish. This particular specimen has two trailing egg cases, which I think threw some of you. It was removed from a Brill and as Daniel Calleri recognised from a visit to the Grant Micrarium, it’s Lepeophtheirus hippoglossi (Krøyer, 1837).
If you’ve been to the Grant Museum and have photos from the Micrarium, or if you have any photos of tiny animals, you might fancy entering a Twitter and Instagram competition by sharing them with the hashtag #MicroMultitudes, Have fun with your photos!