Butterfly scales through the lens of a Foldscope

I was really excited to receive a new Foldscope kit recently, and after corresponding with Manu online, we agreed that butterfly scales represent a nice project that others can easily get involved with! Here are some previous posts on the subject: https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=10080, & https://microcosmos.foldscope.com/?p=16562 Here’s magnification of a butterfly eyespot and through the lens of a #Foldscope below,…

Foldscope Workshop in the Peruvian Amazon

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a Tropical Entomology course in the Peruvian Amazon over winter break (this was through an organization called Field Projects International https://fieldprojects.org). Thanks to Manu and the Foldscope team, I was able to bring down several Foldscope units for my students. In addition to teaching them about topics ranging from ecology to…

Butterfly Wing Structure – Transparency Edition

In the past I have posted about some of my experiences with the Foldscope in the Amazon rainforest, and more recently about investigating structural color in butterflies in the field (see here and here). I even just realized that others have made posts contributing to a butterfly scale database! For this particular trip to Ecuador,…

Arthropod Soil Biodiversity and Foldscope-DSLR Camera Hack

It has been a while since my last post on butterfly wing scales – since then I’ve been thinking up some directions to apply the Foldscope to a more in-depth study on biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest. When I initially played with the Foldscope in the jungle, I had the idea to take one scoop of soil to see what…

Butterfly Wings – A World of Color

I’ve had the chance to observe some interesting organisms and structures with my Foldscope thus far and my new favorite subject is the butterfly wing. Butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera and all members have scales covering their bodies and wings (in Latin, lepis means scale and ptera means wing). With over 180,000 described species,…

Wing Scales & Structural vs Pigment Color

  In the Peruvian Amazon, one can find a stunning array of butterflies along the river banks during the day. But wait, that’s no butterfly! The beautiful green Lepidoptera in the image above is actually a diurnal moth in the family Uraniidae. These moths are commonly seen gathered at mud puddles where they lap up important nutrients…

Putting the Foldscope to the Test in the Amazon Rainforest

I made my first journey to the Peruvian Amazon about a year ago due to the discovery of a new kind of arachnid known as the ‘decoy spider‘. Since then, I’ve returned to a field site stationed at the Tambopata Research Center and have covered an array of new and interesting arthropods including glow worms and tentacled caterpillars….

From the City to the Jungle with the Foldscope

For the past few months, I’ve been conducting research in the Peruvian Amazon. But when I’m not trekking through the jungle, I’m based in Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the U.S. So for this post I thought I’d compare and contrast a few things I’ve investigated with my Foldscope, but the moral…

Changing the World with a 50-Cent Paper Microscope

Anyone who has spent time in a lab has likely hunched over a microscope at some point. They are standard instruments for visualizing and investigating small objects. The problem is that microscopes are relatively large and expensive, which can be a barrier to people with an interest in science or microscopy but who can’t afford…

Why Do Flowers Have Color? A Closer Look with Foldscope

Flowering plants belong to a group called angiosperms and the first flowering plant existed somewhere around 160 million years ago. Since then, flowering plants have become extremely diverse, as we can see today in their range of shapes, colors, sizes, and smells. Many flowers derive their colors from the production of pigments called anthocyanins (red,…