NEWS: Naomi’s nightmares of nature.


Image: BBC camera crew (left) filming the follicle mite, Demodex (right), for an episode of the children’s television programme, Naomi’s Nightmare’s of Nature.

Not so long ago we received a strange request from Dr Sarah Perkins (BIOSI): could we accommodate a BBC camera crew within the Bioimaging Facility to film an episode of the Children’s CBBC television programme, Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature? The nightmare in question, was the eyelash mite,  Demodex, a commensal ectoparasite that lives within the hair follicles (Demodex follicularum) and sebaceous glands (Demodex brevis) of the face, feeding off sebum and other organic detritus. Anyway, prior to filming, we spent an anxious morning attempting to isolate live Demodex from ‘volunteers’ faces by various means,  including via sellotape, with little success Fortunately, when Naomi and her production team arrived, we struck gold! A few eyelashes extracted from their cameraman, Steve, revealed a bumper load of parasites and, using DIC optics, we were able to generate some nice microscopic footage of a family of mites tucking into their evening meal!


Find out more: