Welcome to Miniature Lives Magnified!
Here at the Natural History Museum, London, we are so excited to bring you a brand new expedition group focusing on the transcription of microscope slides.
We have taken images of 100,000 microscope slides of a variety of insects, many of which are invisible to the naked eye. We’ll be releasing the images of these insects in small batches.
Our first expedition is called ‘The Killer Within: Wasps but not as you know them’ and focuses on a group of tiny wasps called Chalcids, pronounced ‘kal-cids’. Just millimetres in length these wasps are parasitoids; they lay their eggs inside other insects and the emerging larvae eat their host inside out, growing and pupating until they are mature enough to burst out as adults.
But the gruesome killing habits of Chalcids have an advantageous role in our food production systems. Many of the host species of Chalcids are plant pests that have devastating impacts on agricultural and so Chalcids are used commercially as a biological control agent.
Being sooooo tiny Chalcids are really hard to study, which means there are huge gaps in our knowledge about their ecology and behaviour. We want to start unlocking some of that knowledge from our collections, which is why we have brought the slides to you the Notes from Nature community.
To get stuck into our first batch of microscope slides visit the ‘Magnified’ group, indicated by the microscope icon.
And do let us know what you think of the project in the ‘Magnified Help’ talk group.
We hope you enjoy the slides and we’ll see you in Talk.
Best wishes from Jade and the Natural History Museum team.