The Extraordinary Details of a Beetle’s Foot and Other Parts of Tiny Creatures by Igor Siwanowicz

Ever wondered how a diving beetle can swim through water or rest on the surface? Partly by its foot being much more complicated than your own. And those complex details have now been made visible.

Science meets art in these incredibly-detailed images taken by neurobiologist Igor Siwanowicz using a confocal laser-scanning microscope. With the hi-tech device, he uncovers a world of small creatures such as moths, barnacles and beetles that is otherwise unseen to our naked eyes – even using a traditional lens-based microscope.

“I first laid hands on my microscope only three years ago, when I changed fields,” Siwanowicz told Earthly Mission. “I used to work as a biochemist, but I decided that neurobiology was more in tune with my naturalist approach. Plus they have these cool toys.”

Indeed, we love the amazingly detailed results of him playing with this special microscope. Siwanowicz uses it as a creative escape from his stressful work at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus. “You need creative outlets,” he points out. “Especially photography, where the magic happens in a split second where you press the shutter. You’re not dwelling in the past, or thinking about the future. You’re in the moment. It was very therapeutic for me.”

In fact, it is very therapeutic for us too.

Front foot of male Acilius diving beetle


Midge Pupa

Front leg of male diving beetle

Paraphyses & Sporangia

Male diving beetle leg – fragment

Oak Lacebug

Isopod appendage

Front leg of whirligig beetle

Moth antennae

Moth antennae, detail

Sources: 1, 2, 3


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