Silkworm. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the head of a silkworm moth caterpillar (Bombyx mori). The silkworm uses its chewing mouthparts (upper centre) to feed on mulberry leaves. On either side of the mouthparts is an antenna and several simple eyes (ocelli, black round structures, upper left and right). The caterpillar has three pairs of jointed legs behind the head (lower centre). Most caterpillars also have prolegs further along the body (not seen). The silkworm produces threads of silk with which it constructs a cocoon. People farm silkworms for their silk, which is woven into cloth. Magnification: x25 when printed 10cm wide.
© Eye Of Science/Science Photo Library
Surreal study, 1952. Creator: Shirley Markham
Surreal study, 1952. Illustration for a poem by TS Eliot. Shirley Markham (1931-1999) studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Central School of Art in London from 1950-1952. The writer, artist, poet, and illustrator Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) was one of her tutors, and her style of drawing was also influenced by other British illustrators such as Edward Ardizzone, Quentin Blake and Edward Bawden. Markham spent time in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy, and also visited Rome, sketching classical buildings. After graduating from Central, she worked as a graphic designer, producing book illustrations, cartoons for comics, menus and programmes. She gave up her promising career however when she got married in 1957. Middle-class women at that time were expected to devote their energies to bringing up children and running the home, and despite her obvious talent, she lacked the confidence to return to illustration. Her portfolio remained in the family attic for many years, but now her work is published here for the first time.
© Shirley Markham Collection / Heritage-Images
Gecko. Underside of the head and foot of a gecko (family Gekkonidae) walking on glass. Geckos are nocturnal lizards found in warm climates. They are able to climb on vertical walls and upside-down on ceilings due to the gripping ability of their toes. Each toe is lined with microscopic hairs (setae) and each hair is further branched into finer structures (spatulae). The hairs create weak intermolecular forces, known as van der Waals forces, which are strong enough to grip on any surface. Geckos walk by first uncurling their toes before making contact. To take another step, the gecko must peel off its toe. This uncurling and peeling action can be produced up to 15 times per second, enabling the gecko to move rapidly.
© VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY