The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

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Lilly Begonia
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The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#1 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:53 pm

I was scanning through a slide during a rather boring morning at the scope when I came upon the very weirdest thing I've yet seen on my scope. This organism is from the RSW lake water I sampled last week. I've looked through a LOT of pond water, but never saw anything like this thing. It moved like nothing I've ever seen, and I've certainly never seen anything that looks like it. If anyone can tell me what it is I'd be grateful, so here it is:

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I even took video of it to show how it moved, and it's pretty terrible quality video, because ToupLite, but it does give an idea how this organism moves. It's motion was constant and very fluid:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYxktXoFFT8

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#2 Post by mrsonchus » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:40 pm

Aha Lily! You've done it again! What an odd-looking 'thing' - the 'wavy lines' on it are interesting. I'm looking forward to this adventure - someone here will have a very good idea what it is - these folk have masses of expertise and experience with such critters.

Thanks again, John B. :)
John B

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#3 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:06 pm

mrsonchus wrote:Aha Lily! You've done it again! What an odd-looking 'thing' - the 'wavy lines' on it are interesting. I'm looking forward to this adventure - someone here will have a very good idea what it is - these folk have masses of expertise and experience with such critters.

Thanks again, John B. :)
Thank you John! I found this creature to be really fascinating. I could not stop watching it for the longest time. It's like something out of Star Trek! Things like this are why I bought a microscope and spend so much time at it. You never know when you will come across something like this.

I'll bet Francisco knows what it is :)

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#4 Post by MichaelG. » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:17 pm

What a fascinating creature !!

The still images give the surface structure, which is sadly missing from the video:
... But the video shows that astonishing, and beautiful, motion.

I was captivated.

Sadly, I don't have the faintest idea what it might be.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#5 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:26 pm

MichaelG. wrote:What a fascinating creature !!

The still images give the surface structure, which is sadly missing from the video:
... But the video shows that astonishing, and beautiful, motion.

I was captivated.

Sadly, I don't have the faintest idea what it might be.

MichaelG.
Yes Michael it is indeed a fascinating creature! Everything about it is fascinating, and I watched it until the slide dried out. Now I'm trying to find another one. I knew the video would be pretty bad, but I wanted to show how it moves. It never stopped moving. At one time it rolled itself into a ball and just spun for a while, then it stretched out and swam around, fluidly morphing constantly into a thousand shapes and forms.

I would not even know how to classify such a thing. It's really quite alien! If anyone can identify it I'm going to really dig into what it is. I have got to find another one. Such a strangely beautiful creature!

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#6 Post by Pat Thielen » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:02 am

I agree with John -- You did it again! I've never seen anything like that -- It reminds me of the Spanish Dancer nudibranch I saw in a documentary of ocean life. I too have no idea what this might be but I will watch this thread closely.
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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#7 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:38 am

Pat Thielen wrote:I agree with John -- You did it again! I've never seen anything like that -- It reminds me of the Spanish Dancer nudibranch I saw in a documentary of ocean life. I too have no idea what this might be but I will watch this thread closely.
Thank you Pat. I never expected to see anything like this, nor have I ever. Whatever it is it's quite an alien looking thing. How I wish ToupLite did decent video! I would so dearly wish to have had clear and good quality video of all this thing did. It was amazing! I have a lot of the sample it came from left and will keep searching it for another one of these. I've got to know what it is. I'm going back to that lake and getting more samples as well. That place is a gold mine!

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#8 Post by MichaelG. » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:20 am

Lilly,

Please forgive my ignorance of your local geography:

Is this the 'RSW lake' from which you are collecting such wonders ?
https://www.google.com/maps/@26.5391769 ... n-GB&gl=US
http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Southwest_Fl ... al_Airport

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#9 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:50 am

MichaelG. wrote:Lilly,

Please forgive my ignorance of your local geography:

Is this the 'RSW lake' from which you are collecting such wonders ?
https://www.google.com/maps/@26.5391769 ... n-GB&gl=US
http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Southwest_Fl ... al_Airport

MichaelG.

It's the smaller lake to the upper left of that big one, just off Daniels on Chamberlain. The big lake is more risky to sample from.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#10 Post by MichaelG. » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:41 am

Thanks, Lilly

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#11 Post by Francisco » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:43 am

Nice photos. Strange, for me, ciliate.
Its "flexibility" and shape remind (a little) of Loxophyllum meleagris. It would be very interesting to get a correct identification of this "strange" and interesting ciliated.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#12 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:51 am

Okay, I found another one, and this one did something very strange. It swam around for a while as I chased it around the slide, and then it began trailing some kind of cloudy substance which it enveloped itself in and disappeared!

It's there, I'm sure of it, you just cannot see it at all! I tried to get the best pics of it I could, but that's not easy while chasing it around the slide and trying to work your mouse on two screen buttons at the same time and keep it in focus too. It's the same critter though. I have to say, this is the most fascinating organism I could have imagined.

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Here it starts trailing that cloudy stuff behind it, and it starts producing more and more of it...
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And here it just disappears into that cloudy stuff it started trailing! Gone! Wow! What can even do that? So it could be right there on your slide as you are scanning it, and you would never know it!
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Last edited by Lilly Begonia on Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#13 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:03 am

Francisco wrote:Nice photos. Strange, for me, ciliate.
Its "flexibility" and shape remind (a little) of Loxophyllum meleagris. It would be very interesting to get a correct identification of this "strange" and interesting ciliated.
Gosh Francisco, I thought sure you would know what it is. This makes it all the more mysterious! I just found another one, and this one did major weirdness!

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#14 Post by Francisco » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:14 am

Lilly Begonia wrote:Okay, I found another one, and this one did something very strange. It swam around for a while as I chased it around the slide, and then it began trailing some kind of cloudy substance which it enveloped itself in and disappeared!

It's there, I'm sure of it, you just cannot see it at all! I tried to get the best pics of it I could, but that's not easy while chasing it around the slide and trying to work your mouse on two screen buttons at the same time and keep it in focus too. It's the same critter though. I have to say, this is the most fascinating organism I could have imagined.

Image
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Here it starts trailing that cloudy stuff behind it, and it starts producing more and more of it...
Image
And here it just disappears into that cloudy stuff it started trailing! Gone! Wow! What can even do that? So it could be right there on your slide as you are scanning it, and you would never know it!
Image
Possibly Loxodes

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#15 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:54 am

Okay, I just found a third one of these, and it did the very same thing the last one did, trailed out that cloudy stuff and disappeared into it. It seemed to get smaller and smaller as it trailed that cloudy stuff, twirling around and around as it trailed it out, and there seemed to be some kind of ball it was pulling along with it. Then It just vanished into that material again. What on earth can this thing be?????

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POOF! GONE! I have no freaking clue!

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#16 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:58 am

Francisco wrote: Possibly Loxodes
Aha! I think you are right Francisco! I looked on google for the images of Loxodes, and there were very similar images to what I've seen when I first spotted this thing! I'm thinking it's Loxodes Striatus. That round body inside it would seem to be what it ejected to produce that cloudy stuff it trailed out behind it. I've never seen any so fascinating an organism as this! Is it going stealth when it vanishes like that? Will it pop back out at some point? Or is that how it dies? I have no idea. I have a great many questions about this organism. It just occurred to me that the disappearing act could well be it's response to the light from the condenser. The last two of these I found were found just after the slide was mounted, and they did not stick around for long, but went quickly into that disappearing act. I'm thinking they don't like that condenser light.
Last edited by Lilly Begonia on Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#17 Post by clengman » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:43 pm

Is it possible that the pond you took these from is brackish water and not fresh?

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#18 Post by Lilly Begonia » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:58 pm

clengman wrote:Is it possible that the pond you took these from is brackish water and not fresh?
No, it's not. Inland lake nowhere near the Gulf of Mexico, or any canals.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#19 Post by apochronaut » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:08 pm

You don't indicate how large this species is, at least I can't find any reference but based on the objective used, would it be 3 or 400 um? Loxodidae are quite large. I was going to say Loxodes Magnus but it is around 700um. Loxodes Striatus , it likely is.

From the sound of it, several of of your individuals underwent cytolysis, bursting their membranes due to excessive osmotic pressure. Did you notice the contractile vacuole pumping like crazy, in order to reduce the pressure?

I've seen a lot of such ciliates burst over the years, probably due to the increase in water temperature and evaporation on the slide. Usually the organisms, start taking on a frantic behaviour, either racing here and there or spinning, prior to rupturing.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#20 Post by einman » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:18 pm

I have seen it as well. Your question regarding the behavior of the vacuole is apt. Cytolysis is the result of a hypotonic environment resulting in water entering the cell. However, as the water evaporates on a slide you would expect to get a hypertonic situation where the dissolved salts etc in the water become more concentrated resulting in loss of water from the protozoan. Increasing salt levels or water temps results in the slowing of the vacuole. (General Protozoology, Dogiel, p 226-227). If you add say distilled water to the slide to prevent drying over time, ostensibly reducing the salt level of the surrounding fluid, the vacuole pulsations would increase to eliminate water. Failure to do so would result in rupture of the membrane.

So observing the vacuole would give you more indication of what is happening.

Lilly - did you add extra water during observation?

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#21 Post by Lilly Begonia » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:31 pm

einman wrote:I have seen it as well. Your question regarding the behavior of the vacuole is apt. Cytolysis is the result of a hypotonic environment resulting in water entering the cell. However, as the water evaporates on a slide you would expect to get a hypertonic situation where the dissolved salts etc in the water become more concentrated resulting in loss of water from the protozoan. Increasing salt levels or water temps results in the slowing of the vacuole. (General Protozoology, Dogiel, p 226-227). If you add say distilled water to the slide to prevent drying over time, ostensibly reducing the salt level of the surrounding fluid, the vacuole pulsations would increase to eliminate water. Failure to do so would result in rupture of the membrane.

So observing the vacuole would give you more indication of what is happening.

Lilly - did you add extra water during observation?
No einman I did not add water during the observation. You must forgive me for being a complete noob at this, I don't know anywhere near what you guys do about it, and some of your observations and questions are a bit over my head. I'm not sure about salt level, this was from a fresh water lake.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#22 Post by apochronaut » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:03 pm

Adding water, keeps the dissolved solids in the sample at a reasonably constant level, so the pressure inside the cell remains relatively constant and the organism doesn't go into a frantic search for a less hostile environment.

Einman, yes the salt content would increase and eventually slow things down towards the point of membrane rupture but in advance of that, as the concentration begins to increase, there is a quickening of activity as the organisms survival mechanisms attempt to survive in what eventually becomes an overwhelming situation.

I have observed numerous strategies; clustering near a source of oxygen, rapid swimming, spinning, It is hard to tell which activities are behaviour and which are biochemically mediated. It appears to be a bit of both, with biochemical factors dominating towards the point of expiration.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#23 Post by Lilly Begonia » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:15 pm

apochronaut wrote:Adding water, keeps the dissolved solids in the sample at a reasonably constant level, so the pressure inside the cell remains relatively constant and the organism doesn't go into a frantic search for a less hostile environment.

Einman, yes the salt content would increase and eventually slow things down towards the point of membrane rupture but in advance of that, as the concentration begins to increase, there is a quickening of activity as the organisms survival mechanisms attempt to survive in what eventually becomes an overwhelming situation.

I have observed numerous strategies; clustering near a source of oxygen, rapid swimming, spinning, It is hard to tell which activities are behaviour and which are biochemically mediated. It appears to be a bit of both, with biochemical factors dominating towards the point of expiration.
Well, I found these organisms quickly after mounting the slide, and they went into that behavior immediately in the water they lived in. It happened quite fast actually. By the way, there was a cover slip on the slide, and I'm not sure how to add water to that arrangement.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#24 Post by apochronaut » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:17 pm

evaporation starts immediately, especially with well prepared thin samples, where there is little or no convex meniscus outside the cover slip perimeter.

3 things will help slow it down 1) using larger coverslips. the little 20 x 20mm ones commonly sold are difficult with samples based on water. Using 24 x 30 or even 24 x 50mm cover slips, helps some.
2) sealing the edges of a particularly interesting sample with something will reduce evaporation. Tiny strips of tape work, nail polish works but is toxic to the organisms if it creeps under the cover slip, gelatine can work , or low melting agarose. I've used vaseline and that works but it is a bit difficult to apply.
One way of using vaseline and applying it easily , is to make a ring on the slide with a very small amount of vaseline. Introduce the sample into the ring, then press an oversize coverslip down upon the vaseline, making a sealed pond. Hard to clean the glass afterwads, if you are inclined to reuse the slide and cover slip but it can be done.
3) drawing under the cover slip. using a pipette or eye dropper, introduce a small amount of the sample or water at one edge of the cover slip, while wicking it with some tissue on the other side. if you do this carefully, you cause minimal disturbance of the sample. You can also just introduce a small amount nearest to the point where the most evaporation is taking place. The second option does not risk the loss of any particularly interesting organisms, you might have previously encountered but it can cause the cover slip to float, which can be a problem. Doing it while the cover slip is under oil immersion, will reduce flotation but surplus may have to be wicked nonetheless.
Last edited by apochronaut on Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#25 Post by clengman » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:11 pm

Could there be some kind of contaminant in the vessels you're using to collect your samples? Maybe some residual detergent or chlorinated water? Just a thought. I've been curious since your started posting your photos of water bears (which are very nice by the way!). I haven't seen a *lot* of them, but I've never seen any that were completely sedentary. I have collected them from moss at my home in Pittsburgh, in the dead of winter. I reconstitute them with melted snow or rain water and they are happy and active within an hour or so of coming inside, and have remained active for at least a few days in a small, loosely covered petri dish.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#26 Post by Lilly Begonia » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:24 pm

clengman wrote:Could there be some kind of contaminant in the vessels you're using to collect your samples? Maybe some residual detergent or chlorinated water? Just a thought. I've been curious since your started posting your photos of water bears (which are very nice by the way!). I haven't seen a *lot* of them, but I've never seen any that were completely sedentary. I have collected them from moss at my home in Pittsburgh, in the dead of winter. I reconstitute them with melted snow or rain water and they are happy and active within an hour or so of coming inside, and have remained active for at least a few days in a small, loosely covered petri dish.

Well, my sample jars were all new, ordered from Amazon, and have never been used before, so if there was any sort of contaminant in them I've no idea what it might be. It's rather odd that most of the water bears I found were in fact dormant. I've only seen a few that were moving. I've been wondering about that. Actually it's been the same with rotifers I've found, very few moving, and the great majority dormant. I've no idea why.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#27 Post by Lilly Begonia » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:55 pm

apochronaut wrote:evaporation starts immediately, especially with well prepared thin samples, where there is little or no convex meniscus outside then cover slip perimeter.

3 things will help slow it down 1) using larger coverslips. the little 20 x 20mm ones commonly sold are difficult with samples based on water. Using 24 x 30 or even 24 x 50mm cover slips helps some.
2) sealing the edges of a particularly interesting sample with something will reduce evaporation. Tiny strips of tape work, nail polish works but is toxic to the organisms if it creeps under the cover slip, gelatine can work , or low melting agarose. I've used vaseline and that works but it is a bit difficult to apply.
One way of using vaseline and applying it easily , is to make a ring on the slide with a very small amount of vaseline. Introduce the sample into the ring, then press an oversize coverslip down upon the vaseline, making a sealed pond. Hard to clean the glass afterwords, if you are inclined to reuse the slide and cover slip but it can be done.
3) drawing under the cover slip. using a pipette or eye dropper, introduce a small amount of the sample or water at one edge of the cover slip, while wicking it with some tissue on the other side. if you do this carefully, you cause minimal disturbance of the sample. You can also just introduce a small amount nearest to the point where the most evaporation is taking place. The second option does not risk the loss of any particularly interesting organisms, you might have previously encountered but it can cause the cover slip to float, which can be a problem. Doing it while the cover slip is under oil immersion, will reduce flotation but surplus may have to be wicked nonetheless.
Thank you for taking the time to explain that to me, a total noob. It's appreciated, I've been at this less than a month and there is so very much I don't know. I was in fact wondering about larger cover slips and they seem a good idea. At this point I'm just looking for interesting organisms in pond water, and I've found many. Everything is fascinating to me being a complete noob to this, so I may be trying the patience of some here and if so I apologize. I very much appreciate the help some here have given me in identifying and learning about what I find.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#28 Post by Crater Eddie » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:58 pm

Lilly Begonia wrote: It's rather odd that most of the water bears I found were in fact dormant. I've only seen a few that were moving. I've been wondering about that. Actually it's been the same with rotifers I've found, very few moving, and the great majority dormant. I've no idea why.
How / where do you store your samples from the time you collect them until you view them?
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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#29 Post by apochronaut » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:21 pm

[/quote]Thank you for taking the time to explain that to me, a total noob. It's appreciated, I've been at this less than a month and there is so very much I don't know. I was in fact wondering about larger cover slips and they seem a good idea. At this point I'm just looking for interesting organisms in pond water, and I've found many. Everything is fascinating to me being a complete noob to this, so I may be trying the patience of some here and if so I apologize. I very much appreciate the help some here have given me in identifying and learning about what I find.[/quote]

nope, not a noob. i had to look up noob, because i am a noob at urban slang, although in looking it up, I apparently exalt myself to newb.
Noobs have no will to learn more, newbs have a will to learn. i think that makes us all newbs.

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Re: The very weirdest thing I've yet seen

#30 Post by Lilly Begonia » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:24 pm

Crater Eddie wrote:
Lilly Begonia wrote: It's rather odd that most of the water bears I found were in fact dormant. I've only seen a few that were moving. I've been wondering about that. Actually it's been the same with rotifers I've found, very few moving, and the great majority dormant. I've no idea why.
How / where do you store your samples from the time you collect them until you view them?
CE
I close the jars tightly and set them on my desk when I get home. I open them and take samples from them with pastic transfer pipettes to put on the slides.

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