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MIRA Galleries

This page provides links to galleries of subjects taken with my TESCAN MIRA SEM, which was installed in July 2020. The subject matter is wide-ranging, reflecting my special interests in subjects such as arachnology, diatoms and foraminifera, but also the results of collaborations with enthusiasts in subjects new to me, such as mineralogy. There is a separate page providing links to galleries of images made using my previous SEM, the FEI Inspect.

To enter a gallery, click on the relevant thumbnail below. To see individual pictures at a larger scale, complete with a caption, click on that image. You can cycle through the other photos in the gallery by clicking on the forward and back arrows at the bottom of the individual image page.

To return from a single image to the individual gallery page, click on the cross at the top right of that page. To return to this page, click on the link near the top left of the individual gallery. Some of the micrographs include a data bar at the bottom that records the conditions under which the micrograph was taken, including a magnification. This magnification is accurate when the image is displayed on the screen of the original SEM, but not when viewed on another PC or on a laptop, tablet, phone etc. The scale bar is always correct. Other micrographs have been further processed to remove the data bar and distracting backgrounds. For these, the scale bar has been moved to the body of the image.

In addition to these galleries, and earlier galleries created using the Inspect SEM, there is a separate sub-domain containing micrographs of key features of some British spiders. This can be accessed by following the link at the top of this page.

Miscellaneous material Summer and Autumn 2020

This gallery shows a variety of subjects imaged following the installation of my TESCAN MIRA 4 SEM. Subjects represented are the common garden ant, a small weevil, a bug, butterfly scales and a diatom at two widely separated magnifications

Spider Material 2020

This gallery shows a selection of spider images that were uploaded to my separate spider website during the second half of 2020 following the installation of my MIRA 4 SEM. Clicking on the link in the caption to each image will take you to the web page for that species, opening it in a new tab or window.

Diatom Anaglyphs

Diatoms are microscopic algae, having a siliceous “skeleton”. The images are of the cleaned skeletons.

An anaglyph is an image that has been created by the combination of two separate images taken at slightly different angles to each other, to provide a 3-dimensional appearance. To view these images successfully it is necessary to have some red/cyan glasses. Suitable cardboard versions of these may be obtained very cheaply from www.ASVPSHOP.com in the UK, or from many other sellers on eBay. Search for “red/cyan anaglyph glasses”.

Pseudoscorpions 2

This gallery contains images of four species of pseudoscorpion.

There are more pseudoscorpion images in the Inspect Galleries


Also known as “water bears” these microscopic creatures can be found in a variety of habitats including moss growing on the roofs of houses. They are described as “extremophiles” since they can survive in a very wide variety of habitats, including space! In their active state they like moist environments.

They can range in size from approximately 0.1 mm to more than 1 mm but are typically 0.3 to 0.5 mm in length.

Pollen Composites

This gallery shows “dehydrated” (on the left) and “hydrated” pollen grains along with a picture of the flower from which they originate. The dehydrated state exists for the pollen on the originating flower. Once a pollen grain is successfully transferred to the pistil (female part) of a receiving flower it swells and puts out pollen tubes, one of which will penetrate down the stylar canal.

Foraminifera from North-West Scotland

Foraminifera (or “forams” for short) are primitive creatures (protists) found mostly in coastal regions washed up on beaches. The creature is surrounded by a shell-like structure, known as a “test” made out of calcium carbonate. Many species of foram exist each with its own shape of test.

Identifications of species on this site are “to follow”!

Marine Diatoms from Berrow (Somerset UK)

I was invited to image some diatom samples taken off Berrow Beach in Somerset UK in 1983. This gallery contains 32 images, of which at least 29 are of diatoms. There is also an example of pollen and a specimen that might or might not be a diatom!

Many thanks to Debbie Oppenheim for providing the source material and also for determining the individual diatoms.

Minerals from Murton Mine

David Green, a fellow member of the Postal Microscopical Society, kindly laid out some SEM stubs for me, with tiny crystals from Murton Mine in Cumbria. These were from the collection of the late Norman Thomson. Imaging and analysing these led to some interesting images, and unexpected chemical compositions.

All identifications of minerals are by David Green.

Diatoms from North Yorks

During a visit to a field centre in N. Yorks, a group of microscopists visited various habitats, mainly based near rivers or canals, and some of us collected diatomaceous material for processing and examination under our microscopes.

Clicking on the image of Cyclotella striata on the left will take you to a further page enabling you to select from six galleries of electron micrographs.