Plastic Hand Lenses

What Magnifying Glass Do I Need for Biology?

Working In the Field, Not the Lab?

When we talk about magnification in biology we usually think of light or electron microscopes found in labs. Field work usually does not need this much magnification. If you are studying or identifying insects, plants, seeds or molds for ecology, horticulture, beekeeping or even farming, a much simpler method of magnification is all you need.

So What Kind of Magnifying Glass Do I Need?

For just about everything you are likely going to look at, 5 or 10X magnification is enough. If you need to identify really tiny things like insect eggs or mold spores, then perhaps 15X.

If you are a botanist, gardener or horticulturist, many of the defining details of flowers such as pistil & stamens can be viewed clearly at just 5X. If you look closely at the image below you can see the pollen in the daffodil flower.

Daffodil Flower
This image was photographed with approximately 5 times magnification. If you click your “Ctrl +” keys, you can increase this to 10X & see even more details.

This next picture of a caterpillar also illustrates how much more detail you can see with just a 5X magnifying glass. Coloration of the body & other details such as eyes & legs when enlarged even this small amount can be enough to confirm the identify of one insect species versus another.

Caterpillar on Leaf
Here is another picture taken at approximately 5X showing a caterpillar on a leaf. If you click your “Ctrl +” keys, you can increase this to 10X & see even finer details.

Details on smaller structures such as insect eggs, plant seeds or mold spores can be hard to detect with the naked eye. Determining what species or stage of development may need as higher as 15X but this is still does not require a complicated or expensive magnifier.

4 Magnifiers That Do the Job for $6.00 or Less

Plastic Hand Lenses
These 4 magnifiers offer from 5-15X all for $6.00 or less. From the top, counterclockwise these hand lenses provide 5X, 10X, 15X & 10X in a larger size.

The three smaller magnifiers have lenses of 30mm (1.25″) each of which has a magnifying power of 5X. When 2 such lenses are used together you get 10X magnification. When 3 such lenses are combined you get 15X. The larger magnifier has 2 50mm (2″) lenses which produce 10X magnification over a larger field of view. Great for quickly scanning larger areas for small details.

 

Summary
Article Name
What Magnifying Glass Do I Need for Biology Field Work?
Description
Field studies in biology, gardening, horticulture & pest management don't need expensive magnifiers for proper identification. Here are 4 basic models for $6.00 or less that work for almost everyone.
Author
Indigo Instruments

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