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Hitachi High-Tech


Close Encounters of the Microscopic Kind

Close Encounters of the Microscopic Kind
This unidentified object we bumped into while looking through our electron microscope sort of looks like an alien from outer space.
Let's see if we can reveal the identity of this mysterious tentacled being.


Decrease the magnification a little and you can see a similar tentacle stretching down from above.
It would appear that our alien has a friend.



Decrease the magnification further and you'll see more unidentified objects!
The top two look like they are flying or dancing around.



It appears there's a crowd of unidentified objects, not just three...


Answer: Horsetail spore

Horsetail spores have four string-like appendages called "elaters" (it's actually just two, but they are attached at the center, making it look as though there are four).
These extend out so that the spore can catch the wind better.
It's these elaters that looked like an alien's tentacles.
When the elaters are dry, they extend in all directions, but they stick to the spore when they are wet.

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