Get Up Close And Personal With 'Micro Monsters'


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The world is awash with insects and parasites - While we are familiar with some like spiders and worms, others like aphids and bed bugs are not so apparent to the naked eye. Now zoologist Tom Jackson brings some of these rather terrifying looking creatures to life, in a book called 'Micro Monsters' - a title that is self-explanatory once you see the pictures.

The British resident whose aim is to show children the living organisms around them that they cannot see with their naked eyes, spent three months compiling the images. In order to capture the amazing details, the tiny creatures were coated in gold and then frozen in liquid nitrogen. He then used a technique called Transmission Electron Microscopy, whereby a beam of electrons is transmitted through these bugs. As it streams through, it creates a very high resolution image that can be transferred onto a layer of photographic film, resulting in crystal clear photos.

This insect that looks like it's straight from a science fiction movie, is a Louse, holding onto an egg. These scavengers that feed off skin and other debris off a host's body, are known to latch onto almost every living creature except for Monotremes or mammals that lay eggs. While there are over 3,000 known species, only three are known to attack humans, the most common of which is the head lice, which while not dangerous is extremely uncomfortable and contagious.

Recognize this little fella? You have probably seen thousands of them especially in the summer, but probably never this close. This is the electron micrograph of a Bluebottle fly, the most common fly in the world. Slightly bigger than a housefly, the insects that move in packs, feed off decaying food, garbage or feces. They are however, useful because they help pollinate flowers with strong odors- Like the stinking cabbage and golden rod.

This cheeky looking insect that appears to be sticking his tongue out (or is it puking?) is a yellow dung fly, which as the name indicates are insects that hang around horse and cow dung. The favorite food of many birds and bats, these creatures are found largely in the Northern hemisphere, and are active throughout the year, especially in areas with mild temperatures.

This rather attractive looking creature is an aphid - the bane of avid gardeners and farmers who live in temperate weather conditions. That's because they leach on to healthy plants and suck out the sap, destroying them completely - The best way to combat them? Flood the garden with beautiful ladybugs that devour them.

Want to see more? Then be sure to look out for 'Micro Monsters', which is scheduled to come to a bookstore near you in a few weeks. It not only features about 80 bugs but also, gives a detailed explanation on each of these tiny creatures that surrounded us. In case you are wondering, the first two pictures are that of a common household Spider and a European Hornet, and the one above? Just a parasitic Wasp!


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