Feather barbs, SEM

Feather barbs, SEM

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Credit: DR PHILIPPA UWINS, WHISTLER RESEARCH PTY/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Feather barbs, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). A feather is formed by rows of barbs (white, two partially seen here), which project from either side of a central shaft (rachis, not seen). Each barb has rows of minute filaments called barbules (pink and purple). The barbules on one side bear hooks, while those on the other have a groove, hooking adjacent barbs together (hooking area can be seen down centre). This makes the feather strong, yet flexible and light, which is ideal for flight.

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Keywords: 2, anatomical, anatomy, animal body, barb, barbs, barbule, barbules, biological, biology, biomechanics, bird, coloured, duo, false-coloured, fauna, feather, feathers, flight, hook, hooked, hooking, hooks, nature, ornithological, ornithology, pair, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, two, wing, winged, wings, zoological, zoology

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