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An Eye for Detail—Our Most Popular Microscope Images for November 2021

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Popular microscope images

One of our favorite parts of the year is seeing all the amazing submissions to the Olympus Image of the Year competition. It seems it’s one of your favorites as well, as this month’s top images include past submissions. We love seeing your work—please keep sharing it!

Compound eyes under the microscope


With an eye for detail, it’s no surprise that the top images for the month came from Kate Murphy (@histoqueenofhearts) during her Instagram takeover! This series focuses on the eye.

Kate explains, “Compound eyes are found in insects and crustaceans. They are made up of numerous individual visual units called ommatidia. Each ommatidia has its own cornea, lens, and photoreceptor cells. And insects can have thousands of them on one eyeball. Compound eyes have been found to have very poor image resolution. But they make up for it by having a very wide viewing angle, and the ability to detect very fast movement.

Pictured here we have images of a robber fly’s eyeball. Robber flies are dichoptic, meaning they have two compound eyes located separately and symmetrically on either side of their head. And on the outermost layer in these images, you can see the many lenses that make up the outer part of the eye. The following layers moving inward are the pigment cells, visual cells, nerve fibers, and then the optic nerve. This sample was formalin fixed and stained with H&E.”

Images and caption courtesy of Kate Murphy. Captured using an Olympus BX40 microscope.


Peacock feathers under the microscope

Did you know? Peacocks can waterproof their feathers with oils from their preen glands. This prevents water droplets from soaking into the feathers. Instead, the water beads into droplets. This stunning close-up was captured for submission to our 2020 Image of the Year competition.

Image courtesy of Mikhail Gribkov. 2020 Image of the Year Award submission. Captured using an Olympus CX23 microscope.

Our 2021 Image of the Year competition is now accepting entries! Learn more at olympus-lifescience.com/ioty


Beetle under the microscope

Don't be fooled! While this beetle may look beautiful, it's actually quite ferocious and cannibalistic. Even the larvae of great diving beetles prey on other beetles by injecting their appendages into the victim to start feasting on liquified organs. 

Image courtesy of Karl Gaff. Captured using an Olympus BX51 microscope with an X Line objective.


Parasitic mite under the microscope

If you look closely, you can see that this parasitic mite, a Calyptostoma sp., has attached itself onto a cranefly's thorax.

Image courtesy of Leonardo Capradossi. 2019 Image of the Year Award submission. Captured using an Olympus LMPlanFl 20X objective (0.40 NA).


Rotifer under the microscope

No, this is not a probe design from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) but actually the rotifer Kellicottia longispina! It's also the November image in Håkan Kvarnström's (@micromundusphotography) series "Exploring the Microscopic World with X Line Objectives."

This species originated in North America but is considered invasive in several continents. This specimen was found in Lake Mälaren in Sweden.

Image courtesy of Håkan Kvarnström. Captured using an Olympus X Line objective.


To see more images like these, be sure to follow us on Instagram at @olympuslifescience!

Interested in sharing your own images? Visit our image submission site or enter our global imaging contest!

Related Content

Lifelong Love of the Microscopic—Meet the IOTY 2020 Americas Regional Winner

Spreading His Wings: IOTY 2020 Asia-Pacific Winner Shares the Beauty of the Microworld

From Algae to Art: Creating Stunning Microscope Artwork with X Line Optics

Manager, Marketing Communications

Kerry Israel is the Manager of Marketing and Communications for Life Science at Evident. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University, and more than 15 years of experience in all aspects of marketing, from advertising and social media strategy to grassroots outreach. 

Dec 21 2021
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