Saturday, 10 September 2011

Mosquito larva in polarized light

  Mosquitoes are annoying. That's obvious for everyone. However, what's not obvious is the fact that identifying mosquitoes is the worst nightmare ever! Their larvae are also pain in the butt... at least that's what I thought till I saw them in polarized light.

  Their countless mouth pieces look very cool and in the pics you can clearly see all muscles which are brightly lit with the technique. The muscles in the head move mouth pieces.

  That's the darkfield version:

  And that's a brightfiled version:

Mosquito Larva Jaws

  Other interesting thing in mosquito larva is the fact that it breathes with air and uses gills. Apparently they don't get enough oxygen from water. That's why they spend most of the time by the surface sticking their asses syphones into the air.

  A close up of gills:

Gills of mosquito

  Another stack from top (the jaws are below), this time brightfiled:

Mosquito Larva

And finally, the most challenging image, which is larger version of the title pic: stack of... I actually lost the count of how many pictures, never mind... the image is stitched out of 5 stacks. Since it moved quite a lot, as usual, the trickiest part was being patient.

  That was the most challenging photo task I've ever done, the photo session took me almost entire day and then I spent almost a week sorting out the pictures and assembling them. The average time the larva does not move is 5 seconds, now imagine that you need 20-30 pictures to get the depth of field... and you need 5-6 fields of view to cover the full length. Larva moves and you start from the scratch...  it really tested my patience.

The mosquito is Culex sp., I used Zeiss Axioscope with crossed polarizers, Sony NEX-5 and Zerene Stacker with Photoshop to assemble and edit the pictures.

You can download a wallpaper featuring the larva head here, it's at the bottom of the page. Besides, I made another post with pictures I haven't shown here.

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