Coloured engraving of a flea (by van Leeuwenhoek)

Coloured engraving of a flea (by van Leeuwenhoek)

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Flea. Coloured engraving of a flea drawn by the Dutch microscopist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632- 1723). The magnified insect has been drawn in remarkable detail. Van Leeuwenhoek had no formal scientific training and owned a drapers shop in Delft; he also worked in local government. As a hobby he made his own magnifying lenses and became an enthusiastic microscopist. He observed blood corpuscles, capillaries and spermatozoa, and with the help of his remarkable lenses he was able to make the first detailed descriptions of micro- organisms including bacteria and protozoa. He also accurately described the life cycles of many insects, such as the flea.

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Keywords: animal, artwork, drawing, flea, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, leeuwenhoek, nature, van leeuwenhoek, wildlife, zoology

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