Not too long ago, I picked up a simple USB microscope, primarily to see if it could be used to capture insect behavior. There has been no opportunity to try that out yet, though I suspect with the extremely short depth of field, my selection of subject matter is going to be rather narrow.
In the interim, however, I thought I’d check out how it worked on the Triops, restrained as they were in the tiny macro tank (actually a hole drilled in plexi and affixed to a slide to make a little well for a couple of drops of water.) As I was arranging the lighting and focus, I saw the Triops start to behave erratically, bent almost double and struggling. It took me another few moments to get the USB video camera ready to go, but once I did, the Triops was back to normal, more or less, and I realized I’d just missed something. Watch near the top of the well:
First off, I apologize for the lighting issue – the camera has its own set of LED lights, but I dimmed them as far as they’d go and was using an LED flashlight for backlighting, so that’s what all the flashing was about. But, you noticed the recently molted exoskeleton, right?
I mean, seriously – I had the video camera in hand and a marvelous opportunity for some interesting behavior, and missed it by a minute.
By the way, I can focus sharply on the exoskeleton because it’s not freaking moving!