I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University.
During my lab class, we went outside to a balcony garden on the third floor where a variety of flowers and other plants were growing. There were butterflies flitting around in the light and ladybugs and other insects were also visible. I chose a small leaf of a flower to look at using my foldscope. On the leaf, I noticed a tiny little white spider, and I wanted to see what it looked like up close. I was amazed at what I saw! The level of detail on the spider was outstanding; you can see its individual leg segments and the texture of its body. But, what most interested me was the big dark spot on the image….it was moving!
Perhaps this is some kind of mite or parasite that attacks the spider, or perhaps it was a smaller or juvenile spider? It was a bit hard to tell from observation alone. What do you think this could be?
I enjoyed my experience with the foldscope in this lab. There was a genuine moment of “whoa!!” that all of my classmates experienced when looking through the foldscope towards the light for the first time, and it’s amazing that this technology is accessible to us in such a simple and easy-to-use way.