Fly Wing

One of the easiest microscope slides to make is one of a fly’s wing.  I found an already dead one and ripped a wing off.  Then I placed it between the clear stickers mounted on one of the included paper slides.

fly wing slide

The clear stickers from the FoldScope kit work better than the tape I had been using.  Looking at it through the FoldScope, I could see a lot of details I would have never noticed without a microscope.

There were “hairs” on this wing.

fly wing hairs edge of fly wing

One picture shows some larger hairs and the other one shows the edge of the fly’s wing.

The center parts of the wing also showed some interesting details.

Fly Wing Interior fly wing2

Here are some pictures of the actual fly (or one just like it) that the wing was from.  Just a normal house fly, probably Musca domestica.  It was found on a bathroom counter. 

fly1 fly2 fly3

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Fantastic details. Did you know that it is still an open puzzle to why insects have hair on the wings? Also the orientation in which hairs point is interesting; they are all pointing the same way.. Fascinating.

    Do you happen to know what the fly looked like before you plucked the wing. Where did you find it?

    Great post – keep going.


  2. MadGreen says:

    Thanks Manu,

    I edited the post to include pictures of the whole fly. I’m having a lot of fun with the Foldscope. I’ll be posting more as I experiment more with it.


  3. Manu Prakash says:

    Thanks for posting the details Brian.

    Also; another idea related to insect wings – you could try to stain the elastic protein inside insect wings “resilin” which enables the wings to be highly flexible:

    “Toluidine Blue” stain is known to stain Resilin; would be wonderful to see which species have resilin and which don’t.

    It’s a very useful stain in general. I found a cheap supply store for the same here:


Leave a Reply