Life in a Creek Next to a Sidewalk



My worm-san is still alive and well after 20 minutes of scrutiny. This one was very patient with me. Thank you worm-san. You can go safely back to the soil now.

This worm-san kept wiggling around in between two pieces of tape (I made sure it’s not too tight). I could quite clearly observe its pulsation. (Please bear with my poor mounting of the Foldscope onto my iPhone 4S. I used my desk lamp as light source.)

Worm-san came from a super intermittent creek in my neighborhood right after a pretty heavy storm event on April 13th, 2017.




Yes, it’s a street gutter.




Many creeks in urban areas are now buried underneath the concrete to make more room for houses. When it rains, water quickly runs off the paved surfaces, gets collected in the street gutter, and flows into the nearest storm drain. Storm drains are connected to the hidden creek underneath the city. So in a way, all street gutters are like tributaries that feed into the main stem of the underground creek.

My toe is pointing at the spot where worm-san was taken. Notice the oil sheen right next to it?

Now “gutter” sounds so…..uninspiring. So I started calling street gutters “Sidecreeks” because they’re next to sidewalks.

Isn’t it more fun to think that you could be walking right next to a creek at all times?

I certainly think so!

And there is life in this super intermittent urban creek despite the motor oil, plastic, trash, and other not so friendly stuff commonly found on paved surfaces.

My sidecreek adventure is definitely more fun with Foldscope!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Honomi,

    What a wonderful expression of love for the side walk. Absolutely delightful. I can see peristalsis in the worm video; really beautiful. I often find live imaging to be incredible.

    Let’s chat sometime soon..


  2. laksiyer says:

    Sidecreek biology !!. Those little mosses and plants have many more wonders. Hope to see them under the foldcsope

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