Feather, SEM

Feather, SEM

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Feather. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the structure of a feather. 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 (rachis, diagonally across centre). Each barb has rows of minute filaments called barbules. The barbules on one side bear hooks, while those on the other have a groove. This arrangement hooks adjacent barbs together, linking the whole structure. This makes the feather strong yet flexible and light, which is ideal for flight. Magnification: x30 when printed 10cm wide.

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Keywords: anatomy, animal body, barb, barbs, barbule, barbules, bird, coloured, feather, feathers, flight, rachis, scanning electron micrograph, sem, shaft, wing

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