Coloured SEM of barbules on a swallow feather

Coloured SEM of barbules on a swallow feather

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Credit: POWER AND SYRED/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Feather barbules. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of barbule hooks on a feather from a swallow, (Hirundo sp.). The flat broad vane of a feather is formed by comb-like rows of filaments called barbs, which project from either side of a central shaft. Each barb has rows of minute filaments called barbules, the barbules on one side bear hooks, while those on the other have a groove. The arrangement is such as to hook adjacent barbs together, interlinking the whole structure. Thus the feather is strong yet flexible and light, making it ideal for flight. Magnification: x844 at 5x7cm size. Magnification: x2,050 at 7x5 inch size.

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Keywords: anatomy, animal body, barb, barbule, barbules, bird, feather, feathers, hirundo sp., hook, swallow, swallow feather, type

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