Light micrograph of scales on a butterfly's wing

Light micrograph of scales on a butterfly's wing

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Credit: CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Light micrograph of the wing of a butterfly, Vanessa sp., showing the arrangement of the scales. The structure of the wing is like a roof, with coloured scales corresponding to the overlapping tiles. The scales are attached to a membrane (the wing itself) by a short stalk, which fits into a tubular socket. The colour of the butterfly's wing is determined not only by pigmentation, but also by diffraction of light and the surface structure of the scale. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: animal, butterfly, butterfly wing, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, scale, scales, wildlife, wing, zoology

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