Dandelion seeds

We have been studying plants and looking at seed dispersal. We looked at dandelions, whose seeds are dispersed by the wind.They have an ‘umbrella’ to catch the breeze and the seed is barbed so it will catch on things or stay in the soil. Brilliant design. No wonder they are everywhere! When looking at it under our MiScope,we found a little insect. How small it must be that it hardly made the fine parts of the seed move? Yet it still has wings and all the other body parts of an insect.. Watch the video.

Dandelion seed

Just a tick. Do you have these?

I went for a walk near the beach at Curl Curl in Sydney and my Mum found this on her back afterwards. It is a tick, a blood sucking external parasite. We think this one is a paralysis tick. Do you have ticks in your country? They seem to need a humid environment.

paralysis tick

a blood-sucking tick

The World of the Scribbly Gum

In Australia, we have many species of eucalyptus trees or gum trees. One interesting tree is the scribbly gum – called such becaue it looks like someone has scribbled on it. In fact the scribbles are caused by the larva of a scribbly gum moth. We pulled off a small peice of loose bark. What we found underneath was a whole world of minibeasts.

We took the photos of a few other things but they seemed to be BMP files which we can’t upload. How can we stop this from happening?

The legs of an ugly but camouflaged bug

The legs of an ugly bug in the bark

eggs in a spiderweb under the bark

Eggs in a web under the bark.

A bug made these scribbles


In our class we have been learning about the human body. Today we have been learning about skin. Austrlia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. This is because we can play outside all year round because of our mild climate. Aussies like to go to the beach a lot. This reslts in our skin getting damaged. Our first lot of images are of warts. When you look at them closely, you can see it has lots of ‘fingers’.

Citric acid,Tartaric acid crystals and Jelly crystals

Seaweed – interesting stuff

Schools in Sydney are on vacation until the end of January. I went to the beach where it was very weedy today. I thought I would look at what the seaweed looked like under the miscope. It is fascinating how a tiny piece of seaweed looks so different up close. I can see why marine biology is so popular.

A new investigation


IS it merino wool, nylon or angora?

Our teacher has a garment that is soft and knitted. It says on the label that it is made up of merino wool, nylon and angora. This fibre was taken from that item of clothing and is shown at the hiest magnification on the celestron. Is it nylon, merino wool or angora? Nylon is a synthetic, a merino is a type of sheep in Australia and angora is a rabbit (we think). We think it maybe angora because rabbits are soft and smooth and the edge of this fibre is smooth. When we looked at wool from a carpet it looked rough like the damaged hair on a shampoo ad.

Sandy claws

crab claw

Hermit crabs are soft body crabs that live in the shell of a sea snail. As they grow, they need to change to a bigger shell. Soemtimes they fight other crabs to get a desired shell.

They are often found on the beach but will withdraw into their shell for protection. When you place them in the sand, they did into the sand to hide from predators. This was found on the same beach as the blue bottles, at Ocean beach, just north of Sydney.

We wonder what the hair like structures are on the shell. Do they help them grab on to their prey?

joint on a hermit crab


This is a blue bottle washed up on sand.

This is a blue bottle washed up on sand

A bluebottle is not a jellyfish, although it looks like one. It floats on the water being pushed with the current and the breeze. It has a stinging tail, that can attack unwary swimmers or fish.

It is made up of multiple animals called zooids. Each group of zooids do a specific task. For example, a group of zooids may make up the tenticles.

These are the bluebottle`s air sack, stinger and tail.

Horton really did hear a who!

The other animals laughed at Horton the elephant when he heard creatures on a tiny flower. Yet these little wattle blossoms are only 3-5mm in diameter and they are crawling with bugs. Wattle is Australia’s national flower and where it gets its green and gold sporting colours from.

Hairy Mussel

A broken hairy mussel shell and a different type of mussel shell

The’ hairy mussel’ as its name suggests is a mussel, which is a bivalve mollusc that you find at the beach or growing on rocks. The meat is harvested and eaten in restaurants. It is covered in what looks like hairs but when we look at it under the microscope, they don’t look like hairs at all. What we are wondering is:

Are the ‘hairs’ produced by the mussel or is it something else growing on the shell? If it is something else growing on the shell, why doesn’t that plant or animal grow on the shells of other molluscs?

What are the white things that appear to be growing on the ‘hairs’ of the mollusc?

Mealy bug

We have been pulling apart flowers and looking at them under the MiScope. Imagine our surprise when we saw this little white mealy bug pop out and start running around. We think it was a white rose. There is a whole invisible world out there that we are discovering.

Cicada eyes

Do cicadas have compound eyes like flies?

Bush Cicada

Sydney summers are known for the deafening sounds of cicadas. We have many bush cicadas around us and we found a dead one on the window sill. We thought it would be interesting to look at with the MiScope. They have clear wings that look like they are made of plastic.

Strange Flowers

In most parts of Australia, it is very dry, so our plants are different to plants in other parts of the world. The leaves are usually spiky and small and the flowers have very small petals and look hairy.

This is what a bottlebrush flower looks like. It is approximately 10cm long.

With both of these flowers, it looks like they have no petals or if they do they are funny looking. But when you look under the microscope. You get a different picture.