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Spirostomum ambiguum   - microcosmos.nlfillspirostomumfillspirostomum
Frozen garden pond 04 marach 2010
FINALLY, THE MASSIVE ICE LAYER ON THE GARDEN POND HAS THAWED. Now we can remove the oak leaves, that were frozen all winter. Although the night frost laid a new thin ice sheet, but we can pierce through that with ease. And the ice sheet over the leaves has melted, because there the shallow water is a few degrees warmer. When we pull out the first leaves, we see a mass of tiny white needles, a few millimeters in size.

Spirostomum ambiguum groep 02-03-2010 Spirostomum ambiguum group 02-03-2010 Spirostomum ambiguum group under microscope 02-03-2010
magnification (From left to right: overview, crop and microscope photo). Click to enlarge. magnification
At first sight, the needles look rigid and lifeless, but already the curiosity of the perceptive observer is triggered. Someone with experience in the world of pond and stream might even think immediately: Spirostomum?
And behold, at a closer look we see movement. If we place a water droplet on a small glass plate under a magnifying glass, we see the little animals swimming around. They seem to do that at a leisurely pace, and the sight of the little rods, calmly swimming and bending, is quite hypnotising.

Click below to see a short movie:

MOVIE page (1MB)

(Or click on the picture at right).
Spirostomum swimming backward
At left three stills from a short movie, made with a digital camera on top of a microscope. In the frame a single Spirostomum is marked in red. In the movie this individual can be seen colliding with some detritus, after which it shrinks and thereafter swims backwards. By this characteristic, the possibility to swim forward and backward, you can distinguish Spirostomum ambiguum from microscopic worms. The specific epithet ambi-guum means something like: " in two directions going".


All pictures on this site were made by Gerard Visser (Aadorp, Netherlands), unless stated otherwise. All rights remain with him. These pictures may not be used for purposes any other than private viewing or printing. Do NOT hardlink to these pictures or place them on other websites without the author's approval. Should you need them for purposes which include third parties, you must ask the author permission by e-mail. People, who want to use this pictures for exhibitions or publications or educative material are much encouraged to do so, after approval as mentioned and giving the normal credits.
© G.H. Visser 08-03-2010
rev. 31-03-2022

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