Monday, May 05, 2014

Fun with a Scorpion

Yesterday when I took my walk to Handras I set out in shorts and t-shirt because the sun was shining and I expected the temperature to just climb, but cloud steadily thickened. As I approached that village I was pretty sure I was going to get rained on and it occurred to me that while I didn’t mind getting a bit wet since it was still warm, the Greek/English lexicon, sheet of paper with Anna’s latest lesson on it, wallet and notebook in my man-bag might not appreciate it. I started looking for a plastic bag, damning myself for not sticking to my idea of always carrying a spare because wherever you go here Greeks will give you gifts of fruit and veg. (I digress: on one of my first walks here a pickup stopped beside me and the old guy behind the wheel waved to the back and held up three fingers. I took three mandarins out of the back, thanked him, and enjoyed them on the way home.)

The first plastic bag I found had fur and other icky substance stuck inside so had probably contained a dead cat. I passed on that one. The next I picked up was clean so I put the vulnerable items in that then back in my man-bag. Rubbish in general, including plastic bags, is never in short supply here and is strangely lacking in the tourist photos. On many occasions I’ve had my Jaws moment while swimming only to see a carrier bag sliding by under water.

Rumbles of thunder ensued and I did get rained on but not enough to bother me much. Back home, with the weather clearing a little, I set about varnishing woodwork then tidying the garden and other areas surrounding the house. This done I read Greek for an hour before deciding that maybe it was time to fire up that USB microscope that has been sitting on my shelf for 2 or 3 years. I connected it to my laptop, opened camera app, then looked around for the slides. I couldn’t find them anywhere so had to pack the microscope away again and instead watched the Sopranos.

This morning I was determined to make a concerted search for those slides after a walk to Lithines. However, it was grey and pouring with rain and has only eased off now at 9.30. Foregoing my walk I began rummaging through drawers – always traumatic because every item has a memory attached. I threw stuff away and relocated it, then finally found the box of slides in a cobwebby mess behind my desk. Time to set up the microscope again...

 
 
Here’s Mr Scorpion in place:

 
And here are some shots of him, respectively the sting, part of the main body and one claw.



 
This is my first effort. I would have liked a lower magnification so as to get a detailed picture of the whole thing but at x20 this is the lowest of the main settings which then go up to x80 and x350. Here’s x80 on the sting, while x350 is just a difficult blurry mess I won’t bother with.

 
Maybe if I take a series of shots at different points along its body I can paste together a whole picture in one of the other programs I have available? That’s a project for another time. I also need to get hold of the kind of slides I remember from my childhood (when my parents bought me a very good microscope for maybe my 10th birthday). These slides have dished recesses in them so you can put in a droplet of filthy water and watch fascinating diatoms zipping about, and the app will allow me to take video clips of them.

There you go: it is now confirmed that I am a weirdo.

12 comments:

Sue said...

Fantastic! (btw - weird is good!)

Neal Asher said...

Thank you kindly. I'll have to find a mosquito next - if it's possible to get one I haven't flattened.

robann said...

Extra points I'd you find one with your own blood in!

daniel ware said...

Ah microscope slides: my dissertation involved the first scanning electron microscope studies of ephemeroptera (Dragon fly larvae) - that scorpion brings back memories...

eriko said...

You can use "Focus Stacking" software to stitch together the layers that are in focus. Photoshop is probably the easiest but you can also use free software http://computer-and-gadgets.net/focus-stacking-in-a-click-with-combinezp/ Search for the quoted term to learn more.

We have the spendy version cally AutoMontage and take pictures for ants that still look good when you blow them up to human size.

Ian M Campbell said...

Neal - its all furry and cuddly, couldn't you have kept it for a pet??

Given it met its demise under a mop, was it a clean end rather than a sticky one? Sorry - terrible!

Cyprus holiday few years back, tarantulas in the area? Great *eyes peeled* none.....

Then lo, cleaning lady brushes a monster one out towards the tourists from under a bush, not good PR... as fast as it appeared she squashed it under her flip flop.. picture it, a flip flop with 8 legs round the edges..... again, she could have had a nice pet there.... (i just put my beetle out of the night).....

EMorton said...

Perhaps you can find one of those pesky "no-see ums" and see what they are made up of. That would be interesting.

EMorton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

A suggestion: try see what that scorpion looks like when illuminated with ultraviolet light.

A second suggestion: have a look outside on a dark night, using just an ultraviolet lamp for illumination.

Neal Asher said...

robann, unfortunately they are usually the flat ones.

'that scorpion brings back memories' ... or it's shadow, Dan.

eriko, I'm sure I can do something with what I have either im Paintbrush or that nicely titled program called GIMP.

Ian, I didn't kill it with the mop. I suspect it just crawled under there itself to expire. And, judging by the state of my mop, it wasn't really a clean end.

EMorton, are you talking about those buggers that bite like a bastard and are smaller than a flack of dust?

Dan, you've reminded me. I do want to get hold of an ultraviolet light to that end.

EMorton said...

Yes Neal, I sure am. Now that it starting to warm up here I expect to have them out in hordes.

daniel ware said...

indeed Neal 😁