What were they? (And a new one)

August 14, 2014 • 4:08 am

Well, many readers got these, but some used a reverse image search, which is HEINOUS. Hey guys, don’t do that!

Anyway, here are the answers above each photo:

Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis):

Bjr2jyyIUAAmAPkT4 phage (virus). As many readers pointed out, this is either a model or a manipulation of some kind. I should have known that, as it simply looks too good (though that’s not always dispositive evidence). At any rate, it’s being touted all over the Internet as a real virus picture.  But at least you know what the famous T4 phage (a subject of much genetic experimentation) looks like:


A snowflake, for crying out loud!


And the human tongue; I assume the protuberances are taste buds:


Now, what is this?


56 thoughts on “What were they? (And a new one)

          1. Stretched out beanbags with itty bitty legs.

            If we ever find a planet we’d like to colonize these little wonders might come in handy.

  1. Drosophila melanogaster maggot with an even smaller buggle on it.

    And here’s the place that proves the T4 is a computer image. Same company, I think, as the guys that had their animations of “walking” proteins stolen by the godheads to make one of their silly videos supposedly proving design.

    http://www.xvivo.net/wallpaper/ see 2/3 of the way down.

  2. “Now, what is this?”

    LOL, it’s one of the goofiest looking things I’ve ever seen! Are those teeth, or the white ends of its moustache? 😀

    I’m going to guess some fly’s maggot.

    1. I concur on the bot of a some fly: maggot.
      A wee, true story, Iowa / y1974, re same … … if that:

      “The three months’ worth of summertime before I commenced the very first academic year of veterinary class work and with my possessing humans’ medical and nursing knowledge, skill and its actual registration thereof, why, I had been taken onto the payroll of the College’s Small Animal Clinic as its only combination central sterile supply employee and operating – theater nurse. In the midst of a most humid August afternoon, Emergency Receiving took in on a stretcher an entirely prostrate and moribund Old English sheepdog … barely breathing, about 80 pounds’ worth.

      This dog was not unconscious but so critically dehydrated and in extreme pain that it just no longer could stand, let alone, walk itself into our care. The pooch ultimately became the property of the Small Animal Clinic and a successful ‘experiment’ of that year’s collection of rotating senior clinical veterinary students since the canine was not discharged until the following March! Cured. Its owners had not been able to withstand the medical bills which nearly immediately piled up, not to mention, those that were sustained chronically … although the Clinic eventually did release the animal back to them anyhow.

      On scorching, sticky Iowa days after a cat’s or dog’s scratch wound merely the size of a pinprick, it takes no time at all for barnfly eggs laid by those insects attracted to itty – bitty serum droplets wetting the fur strands by only a miniscule amount … to hatch. And the subsequent maggots therefrom … to begin their infesting burrowing and tunneling demolition –––– obliterating under the dermis, epidermis and all of this hound’s foot – long hair the entire fascial and fibrinous infrastructure of a nearly five – foot – long animal’s chest, thoracic and abdominal walls … bilaterally.

      Once its fur was completely shaved off, anyone would have had a very difficult time gazing upon this heap were it to have been a corpse or even a mutilated, rotting, stinking carcass out in an August’s pasture or field somewhere, but it was made all the more grievous to look upon this critter knowing that it was –– alive. Hours and hours and hours and hours the seniors and I labored over this individual dog for at least the first month that it was with us, and the ensuing ones that it took for the entire sides of this animal to literally … regrow. The canine had to regenerate a new, complete covering of skin in from its most outer edges and from its shoulders to its haunches in toto … bilaterally. And as critically at the very same time along this long, long way … try to keep from its becoming infected, Pseudomonas aeruginosa the most egregious and damning of microbes. The condition visited one summer in Iowa’s farm country upon this downed creature paralleled the fifth – degree burns into muscle and bone of persons –– anywhere for any reason –– splashed with … napalm.“


      1. Whoa, that’s pretty creepy stuff to face. That said, I heard that there are species of botfly – though I can’t remember which – that lay their eggs in human skin, and at a glance, you could only distinguish them from severe acne when the things hatched and started wriggling, breaking through the skin or writhing underneath it. A natural horror story.

        You have a source for that Iowan account, by the way? It certainly makes me look at the goofy-looking picture in a new light.

      1. I know the feeling.

        Regarding nightjars I’m -87 out of n.

        And I was a bloody scout in my army days….

    1. Aw, you could have left it in to complete its cycle! One of my wishes is to join the ‘bot fly club’.

  3. That last picture is not microscopic. It is a very large beast found on the planet Arrakis. It was first described by Frank Herbert in 1965.

  4. Jesus Christ onna pogo stick, that last one is ugly. A vampire annelid?

    The snow flake was mean; I also expected something biological, like a diatom.

    1. “Jesus Christ onna pogo stick, that last one is ugly. A vampire annelid?”

      Just imagine someone punched it in the face, and it suddenly becomes funny. 🙂

  5. I’m going with nematode worm.

    And to be bit pedantic: those weren’t taste buds—they were filiform papillae. The keratinized tips provide some holding power on an otherwise slick surface (they are what makes a cat tongue feel like sandpaper) but aren’t innervated hence not sensory. AFAIK taste buds don’t protrude from the surface of the tongue.

  6. It’s obviously some kind of mutant croissant…monster.

    It kind of looks like something that Wallace and Gromit would run into on the moon!

  7. I’ll go with nematode of some nefarious sort. It would be ironic if it infests vampire bats…

    On the ice flake, besides being more typical flakes in the background:

    There is a series of fascinating phase diagrams where ice researchers (they exist!) show how the hexagonal form can grow columnar. From there it is presumably but a change in temperature (say) to get caps from change in growth conditions and so the “wheel barrow” shown.

  8. I don’t understand how the third image is a snowflake.

    Is the hexagonal, three dimensional part the snowflake or the coral looking things on the ends of it?

    I’ve viewed thousands of images of snowflakes and none of them look anything like that.

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