Butterfly wing, SEM

Butterfly wing, SEM

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Credit: SUSUMU NISHINAGA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Butterfly wing. Image 3 of 6. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of scales on a wing from an unidentified butterfly (order Lepidoptera, meaning "scale-wing" in Greek). A butterfly wing is covered in many tiny scales that are modified hairs (setae). These are made of chitin, a common substance in insect exoskeletons. The iridescence of the colours of a butterfly's wings is produced by the diffraction of light by the microscopic structure of these scales. Magnification: x158 at 6x7cm size. For a sequence that magnifies the wing of a butterfly down to the light-diffracting scale structures, see images Z355/692-697.

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Keywords: animal, butterfly, chitin, chitinous, colour, coloured, hair, hairs, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, iridescence, lepidoptera, light diffraction, nature, scale, scales, scanning electron micrograph, sem, seta, setae, wildlife, wing, winged, zoology

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