The Power of the Petri Dish!

I really love bugs. There is such tremendous diversity among insects and invertebrates, it's almost impossible to get bored studying and observing them!

One of the most valuable tools that I use to study bugs is the petri dish. I'm not good at taking photos, I don't have a great camera for macrophotography, but with a petri dish, I can contain a bug long enough to get shots of lots of different angles.

Another great thing about having petri dishes with you, especially if you're leading/on a public nature walk, is that you can share the experience of holding the bug without scaring those that may not want to touch the bug. I've been on a lot of walks (leading and just participating), where I'll find a bee or a wasp, grab it in a petri dish, and then even the most fearful person can hold it and examine it closely. And, after it's examined by everyone, you can return the organism without a tremendous amount of trauma/injury.

Great to have some petri dishes handy whenever you're outside! :)

I get my petri dishes here:
They're relatively inexpensive, but they're also plastic, so they don't always last too long... They scratch and crack, and when I have one in my back pocket, I'll almost always sit on it! Nonetheless, they're super useful.

Have you tried using petri dishes???

Posted on 19 February, 2022 00:00 by sambiology sambiology


That's a neat idea, I might buy some!

Posted by mbwildlife about 2 years ago

Yes, I use them a lot. And indeed they are super useful!


Posted by susanhewitt about 2 years ago

Thanks for reminding me I need to make sure I take some when I leave the house tomorrow for our El Camino Real TMN field day. Thank you for sharing this idea with me several years ago. It's about time for me to reorder.

Posted by connlindajo about 2 years ago

I get through a lot of them and have to re-order often.

Posted by susanhewitt about 2 years ago

It's silly, but I even hold on to the scratched and even minorly cracked ones. I use these bottoms and tops for aquatic stuff, where I don't have to have a lid to prevent the little critters from jumping/flying out.

I know that some folks get glass petri dishes, but knowing my luck, I'd have one of those in my back pocket and would definitely crack that and slice my hiney! :)

Posted by sambiology about 2 years ago

They are also useful for examining Cenchrus sandburs.

Posted by amzapp about 2 years ago

Petri dishes are the best! They're especially great for getting nice, clear underside shots of spiders and other arthropods.

I always have at least one in my car, just in case... and can hear it clanking around in a cupholder in my backseat while driving, just out of reach :D

Posted by wildcarrot about 2 years ago

Right on.

Posted by centratex about 2 years ago

I use your idea in my high school Biology class just this week! Thank you for this idea.

Posted by mrbiology03 about 2 years ago

Great idea, I'll have to get some. I always carry some disposable latex gloves when I'm prowling the woods or prairies so I can see what's inside any wild critter scat I come across.

Posted by chuckwilliamson almost 2 years ago

Got my petris today! To go with the white sheet and mothing setup. But ... I canNOT seem to locate a non-LED blacklight with enough wattage anywhere. The source Mary (rednat) bought hers though a year ago went out of business. Any ideas there? (PS - the HPB invertebrate survey was postponed, so I'll be spending time perfect my game at home with my fellow 6- and 8-legged Earthlings).

Posted by dirtnkids over 1 year ago

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