Image of the Week #39, April 23rd, 2012:

Pond water microforay : amoeba and ciliate sex gone horribly wrong by Psi Wavefunction at The Ocelloid.

Source: Psi Wavefunction

A stunning DIC (differential interference contrast) microscope photo by Scientific American Blogs’ own Ocelloid shows glittering jewel-like creatures literally having sex to death. These beautiful spirotrichs have unfortunately fused at the mouth while reproducing, which you can see at the right of the image, with all the cilia. The ability for scientists to image microfauna such as these is essential, and DIC has the advantage of imaging these organisms while leaving them unstained and alive (unless they have fatal cilia mouth sex).