…or at least if we lived in the world of B movies, you could expect to meet him looming out of the gloom, but luckily for us, he’s actually way too small to be anything other than a mild nuisance.
This image from the recent Wellcome Image Awards, taken by Kevin MacKenzie at the University of Aberdeen, is actually of a moth fly, aka drain fly, aka a tiny wee guy no more than 4 or 5mm long. They are a common bathroom pest, and no doubt you’ve probably seen one flying woozily around, but probably never stopped to think what he actually looks like face to face… well, here you go – crazy moustache-like feelers, super-hairy legs, and well, actually quite a lot of hair everywhere!
I have to say, I have always had a love affair with scanning electron images. I had my first (and so far only) experience of using a scanning electron microscope during my undergrad degree at the University of Glasgow – I was looking at tadpoles, mainly at how their forelimbs develop, but I also took the opportunity to have a wee swatch inside their mouths. Crazy, eh? Those are tadpole teeth, and are probably not how you’d imagine they looked, which is the joy of using a scanning electron microscope – the most mundane things become so much more fascinating when seen close up.