Biodiversity in an old flower vase in my yard

To celebrate biodiversity day, I am sharing a few observations that I made from a mini-zoo in my yard. This is inspired by both laks and manu who regularly create long-term cultures and follow them to observe how life evolves in a mini-ecosystem. 

Here’s the old vase that I let fill with rainwater a few weeks ago. I topped it off with some excess water from the tap, added dead spiders and bees and forgot about it for a week. 

Now, let’s take a small sample and see what we find. 
The first thing I saw swimming around is a water flea. Isn’t it amazing that it appeared literally out of seemingly nowhere. 

Here’s a video of Daphnia (water flea) saying hello. 

Next, as I looked around, I tons of tiny disc like objects. They reminded me of red blood cells. I had a guess if they could be. Before I give a hint, look at the pictures yourself and make an educated guess. 

Ok. If you haven’t figured it out yet, here’s a hint video. (Just to share, I made a guess myself and then made this hint video, which is essentially a 5 min timelapse, to test my hypothesis.)

So if you watch the video closely and stare inside the eggs, you should see movement. I had guessed they were eggs of some kind, and I felt thrilled to know I was on the right track. 

And so I created another slide in the hope of catching whatever was in there at a later stage of development. And boy did I get lucky! I caught one as it hatched and tried to escape from the egg. 

So the objects are nematode eggs and here you see a nematode worm escaping!

Here are a few other things I observed in my ‘mini-zoo’. 

A flatworm (?) I think zooming around. Check the video below. 

I also observed a torpedo like flagellate and a ciliate. Maybe manu or laks can help ID. 

I am excited to follow the mini-zoo, and will post updates next week to what else I find. Keep exploring the unimaginable biodiversity right in your backyards 🙂

2 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    @Saad. This is fantastic. Never guessed they were worm eggs, so elegant to see the worm hatch. I am beginning to wonder if I am mistaking nematode eggs for resting ciliates. The ciliate is likely to be a member of the hypotrich family to which Euplotes belongs.. could also be Stylonychia. That torpedo is a mystery. amazing life. Hope more emerges.

    1. Saad Bhamla says:

      Laks I thought they were cysts too. However the timelapse was a hunch to see if I could see any movement inside. Have you been successful in catching ciliates emerge from a cyst? I find the idea of this strange paused state of life fascinating!

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