Friday, December 4, 2009

Crown of Thorns

An image featuring a water flea's 'crown of thorns' -- the snaking ridge at top left -- took top honors in the 2009 BioScapes microscope imaging contest... If water flea parents sense that their habitat is shared by their main predators, tadpole shrimp, the flea offspring sport their pointy crowns -- which are unappetizing to the shrimp. Zoologist Jan Michels, of the Christian Albrecht University in Kiel, Germany, added a dye to reveal the tiny animal's exoskeleton (green) and cellular nuclei (blue smudges). The blue-and-red dots are one of the animal's compound eyes, like those of a fly.
Image source here.