Microlife: Spring puddle in field

Mar 13-19, 2010

This was taken from a large puddle in a sunny field where the snow had completely melted. The grass here was long and dry, forming small clumps or tussocks, and the water itself had turned brownish. A number of pieces of straw were also taken, and apparently a water beetle, though it was not evident at first.

Throughout the sample there were many longer and shorter spirilla, bdelloid rotifers, Stylonychia and similar spirotrichs, and small green euglenids. Initially there were also many golden Uroglenopsis and dinoflagellates. After a day the latter had congregated on the side facing the light, forming a greyish cloud near the surface.

By the fourth day there were few algae and films began to form on the surface. These contained clumps of brownish vein-like filaments, and whitish regions with many small moving spheres. Many bell-shaped sessilids had settled around them, but most were telotroch-like and few had any sign of a stalk. Astylozoon were also plentiful here.

Bursaria occurred both on the films and swimming below them. The latter could be seen as moving specks and I caught some in a watch-glass, but they mysteriously dissolved a minute later, while the ones on the films could be kept safely. They were accompanied by some brownish colpodids and pinkish Blepharisma.

↬ Thanks to Bruce Taylor, author of It Came from the Pond, for the identification of Stichotricha, and to him and Dr. William Bourland for confirming the likely identification of Bursaria truncatella.

Kingdom Bacteria
…Phylum Proteobacteria – purple bacteria & allies

Spirilla
Proteobacteria - axes about 20-25 µm
Spirillum
Proteobacteria - axis about 125 µm

Kingdom Chromista
…Phylum Ciliophora – ciliates

Blepharisma
Blepharisma - about 150 µm
Ciliate
Ciliophora - about 125 µm
Halteria
Halteria - about 30 µm
Ciliate
Ciliophora - about 50 µm
Ciliate
Ciliophora - about 170 µm
Stichotricha
Stichotricha - about 150 µm
Spirotrich, dinoflagellates
Spirotrichea, Peridinea - about 90, 20-25 µm
Spirotrich
Spirotrichea - about 150 µm
Spirotrich
Spirotrichea - about 145 µm
Stylonychia
Stylonychia - about 160 µm
Stylonychia
Stylonychia - about 185 µm
Spirotrich
Spirotrichea - about 115 µm
Litonotus
Litonotus - about 105 µm
Didiniid
Didiniidae - about 110 µm
Lacrymaria
Lacrymaria - about 340 µm
Ciliate
Ciliophora - about 85 µm
Bursaria truncatella
Bursaria - about 400 µm
Colpodid
Colpodidae - about 110 µm
Ciliate
Ciliophora - about 95 µm
Ciliate
Ciliophora - about 80 µm
Sessilida
Sessilida - about 55 µm
Sessilida
Sessilida - about 120 µm
Sessilida
Sessilida - about 135 µm
Astylozoon
Astylozoon - about 75 µm
Vorticellid
Vorticellidae - about 95 µm

…Phylum Miozoa

Dinoflagellates
Peridinea - about 25 µm
Dinoflagellates
Peridinea - about 20 µm

…Phylum Ochrophyta – heterokont algae

Uroglenopsis
Uroglenopsis - colony about 40 µm
Uroglenopsis
Uroglenopsis - colony about 70 µm
Diatom
Diatomeae - about 140 µm
Diatom
Diatomeae - about 75 µm

Kingdom Protozoa
…Phylum Euglenozoa

Lepocinclis
Lepocinclis - about 100 µm
Euglenid
Euglenida - about 85 µm
Euglenid
Euglenida - about 45 µm
Euglenid
Euglenida - about 60 µm
Trachelomonas
Trachelomonas - about 30 µm
Trachelomonas
Trachelomonas - about 30, 20 µm

Kingdom Animalia
…Phylum Gnathifera – rotifers & allies

Rotaria
Rotaria - about 450 µm
Bdelloid
Bdelloida - about 75 µm wide
Bdelloid
Bdelloida - about 360 µm
Lepadella
Lepadella - about 160 µm
Ploima
Ploima - body about 100 µm

…Phylum Gastrotricha

Chaetonotid
Chaetonotidae - body about 105 µm

…Phylum Arthropoda – insects, crustaceans & allies

Water mite
Acariformes - body about 1.5 mm
Water beetle, Bursaria
Coleoptera, Bursaria - bodies about 4.8 mm, 0.3 mm

Uncertain objects

Unknown
Gliding and rotating filament - about 2 µm wide
Unknown
Filaments in mat - about 3-5 µm wide
Unknown
Bacterial chains - about 3-5 µm wide
Unknown
Branched colony - tips up to 50 µm wide
Unknown
Green flagellate - about 25 µm
Unknown
Vibrating cells in sheath - cells about 8-15 µm
Unknown
Stationary cluster - ‘fingers’ up to 35 µm
Unknown
Cells congregating around debris - up to 30 µm
Unknown
Vibrating or circling spheres - up to 20 µm
Unknown
Turning sphere with posterior bulge - about 185 µm
Unknown
Non-moving brownish object - about 60 µm