Of flour beetle grannies and cuddly head lice – taking a closer look at creepy crawlers

When I was browsing YouTube for new science videos, I suddenly saw a preview image on the “recommended videos” sidebar that looked very familiar. Turned out that one of our work experience students had put together all the images she had taken on our scanning electron microscope to produce a short film! She also added a few images that Barry Martin and Jan Evins took for the Brookes Science Bazaar 2010 and that I have on my computer as well.

This is a flour beetle. To me it always looks like an old woman in a cape and it makes me laugh. :D

The following image shows a close-up of the beetle’s eye.

This is a tsetse fly, an African fly carrying the parasites (trypanosomes) that cause sleeping sickness in humans. Dr Sue Vaughan’s group at Oxford Brookes is researching the cell biology of Trypanosoma brucei and they use electron microscopy and tomography to produce amazing images of the parasites.

Close-up of the fly eye.

Would you have guessed that this shows the surface of a rat’s tongue?

Close-up of a taste bud.

This is my absolute favourite from this picture series. It’s a head louse and it looks so cute and cuddly! It is also the profile picture for our Science Bazaar Twitter stream, which you should follow if you would like to receive updates about this year’s event on 17th March.

To see even more images, watch the whole movie and make sure to turn on your speakers for the full experience. :)

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