image EL_L2_16_Fig
Image number: RS.15755
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Observations of amber, 'burned paper' from the sky, rotifers (microscopic aquatic animals), maggots, blow flies, the stinging hairs of nettles and the East-Indian centipede


17 October 1687


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 190mm
width (page): 155mm


Content object


11 figures in a letter from Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society. The original drawings are lost.

Fig. 1: joint-like parts of green substance or phlegm
Fig. 2: worm or maggot at five days old
Fig. 3: the pupa, with hole where the fly has come out
Fig. 4: the fly
Fig. 5: sting of a nettle with small globule of sap being discharged
Fig. 6: a young nettle's sting from which no fluid has been discharged
Fig. 7: sting of nettle with sap evaporated
Fig. 8: nettle's sting cut off transversally at thickest point
Fig. 9: nettle's sting cut off more towards the sharp part
Fig. 10: the pincer or nipper of the centipede as seen through the microscope
Fig. 11: an Indian centipede.

Object history

Printed images taken from a published version of the letter (the same plate is in the Dutch and Latin versions):
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Vervolg der Brieven, geschreven aan de Wytvermaarde Koninglijke Societeit tot Londen (Leiden: C. Boutesteijn, 1687), pp. 115-40.

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Continuatio Epistolarum (Leiden: Boutesteyn, 1689), pp. 91-112.

Three small packets of specimens were attached to the final sheet of the letter. These were: a blackened fragment of paper; a specimen of algal mat; and 'paper which in 1686, 14 or 15 March in Courland, was said to have fallen from the sky'.

Related Fellows

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist

Associated place

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