Friday, 27 November 2020

The male Pine Cone

A Pine Cone is a scaly trimmed woody cone fruit of a coniferous tree. There are more than 100 types of coniferous trees. These produce both male and female cone fruits. The male pinecone is the smallest, contains pollen and only lives for a few weeks. The female pinecone is larger and contains (if fertilized) seeds.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Nematodes - The most common animal on earth

Around 80% of all animals on the planet are microscopic worms called nematodes, more commonly known as Roundworms. In fact, if you go outside and take a teaspoon of soil you will have caught about 50 of them. However, these tiny organisms are not just present in the soil, but can also be found in aquatic habitats, in moss, on trees and rocks, and almost all other places on the entire planet, from deep oceans, to high mountains.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Čechite, a rare vanadate from the Ulldemolins mines (Catalonia)

Čechite is a very rare lead and iron hydroxylvanadate, with the formula PbFe2+(VO4)(OH), which has been found in very few localities worldwide. The first world location in which it was determined was in the Vrančice mines, in the Czech Republic, in the early 1980s. It has subsequently been found in Italy and the United States. It has no industrial interest, despite the fact that vanadium is a strategic element, since this mineral occurs in small quantities. 

This species usually appears as small tabular to equidimensional crystals, with a black color and a resinous to submetallic luster. The best crystals known until recently were those of the Czech Republic.

Monday, 16 November 2020

A curious caterpillar in the moss

In The Netherlands there are many working groups that regularly make an inventory of the mosses present in nature. For this purpose, the natural landscape is divided into square sections of 1 x 1 km that are characterized by nationally determined coordinates. In such a section it is observed which kinds of mosses occur in it. Many mosses can be identified on the spot. Here, people often use a magnifying glass. Sometimes the determination has to be done at home with the help of a microscope. The results of such an inventory are centrally placed in the "NDFF Verspreidingsatlas" (distribution atlas): This is a database that has been made possible by various nature organizations, with the aim of following the development of the mosses flora under the influence of the environment in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Synura - The golden algae

When we hear the word algae many of us associate that with the color green. And some algae like desmids, are in fact green. But there are a lot of different kinds of algae, and far from all of them are green. Some are red or red and green like haematococcus, some are blue-green like spirulina, while others are yellowish, brown, or even golden.

Friday, 6 November 2020

A common pest

Rosebay willowherb or Fireweed - Chamerion angustifolium - is a very striking and widespread plant species. During flowering it is easy to recognize. The upright plants have a cluster-shaped inflorescence at the top that tapers to a point. The color of the flowers is purple or purple-red. The separate flowers in the cluster are somewhat symmetrical on both sides because the top two petals are somewhat smaller than the bottom two. The scattered leaves are narrow and lanceolate and closely resemble the leaves of Willows.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Motic Path Case - Granulomatous disease of peritoneum


A 52 year-old woman, with a background of surgery by pelvic endometriosis two years before, was submitted for showing symptoms of abdominal distension with pseudo obstructive episodes and malaise. Apart from endometriosis, there was no a history of chronic inflammatory diseases or other interesting pathological events. At the physical exam, ascites is discovered coinciding with radiological study by abdominal scan (SC), which reveals multiple and heterogeneous nodules at the peritoneal surface. The clinical diagnosis was of peritoneal carcinomatosis. A laparoscopic study was realized in which no other abdominal abnormalities were perceived apart from the irregular peritoneal thickening, suggesting tumour process. Two biopsies of different nodules were made.  During histological exam, no neoformative tissue was found. On the contrary, the global alteration consisted of multiple isolated or confluent epithelioid granulomas in a fibrotic background. Basically they were made of histiocyte aggregates and less often multinucleated giant cells. Neither central necrosis nor characteristically morphological signs concerning to specific inflammatory disorders were seen. Specific stains such as Ziehl-Neelsen, Periodic Acid Schiff, Giemsa or Methenamine Silver did no visualized pathogen germs. In addition, in order to rule out tuberculosis, a PCR for BK bacilli was also negative. After the fact that specific aetiologies were discarded, the patient is being treated by anti-inflammatories and she is having a slow but good response.

Delimited by a narrow layer of fibrous tissue with mature lymphocytes.

Neither central caseous necrosis nor other specific histological characteristics are seen. 

Friday, 30 October 2020

Arcella vulgaris has caught Synura

This testate amoeba lives in the mud and vegetation in standing water and also in the bottom, between algae and other plants. Arcella Vulgaris is a testate Amoeba with loose pseudopodia protruding from the pseudochitine shell. Testate amoebae are amoebae with an umbrella-shaped hard cover. The cover is for protection and is excreted by the animal itself. They nourish on diatoms, unicellular algae, animal protozoa such as flagellates and ciliates.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Nettles - The healthy stingers

The plant urtica dioica, more commonly known as the stinging nettle, is a plant many of us are unpleasantly familiar with. The quite fitting name ‘nettle’ comes from the anglo-saxon word ‘noedl’ which means ‘needle’ and the latin ‘urtica’ means ‘to burn’. The plant is found worldwide but was originally native to Europe. At its tallest, the nettle grows to around two meters and are equipped with medium sized leaves. Despite many myths both the stem and the leaves are able to sting you as both are covered in the tiny needle-like structures called trichomes or spicules responsible for the burning sensation you get after contact with the plant.

Friday, 23 October 2020

Viburnum's annoying ‘hair’

The Viburnum rhytidophyllum or Leatherleaf plant is native to central China and is especially decorative along the roads, even in the shade. The plant is a shrub 3 to 4 m high. The leaves are lance-shaped, 15-20 cm, pendulous, leathery with relief, dark green on top, light green and hairy. ‘Hairy’; that is, occupied with stellate (star-shaped) nonglandular trichomes. Trichomes can have many functions like defence against harmful insects, humidity regulation and even a sensory function.