Butterfly wing, SEM

Butterfly wing, SEM

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Credit: SUSUMU NISHINAGA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Butterfly wing. Image 6 of 6. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) close-up of a scale on a wing from a butterfly (order Lepidoptera, meaning "scale-wing" in Greek). A butterfly wing is covered in many tiny scales that are modified hairs (setae). The scales 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 grating seen at this microscopic level. Magnification: x1580 at 6x7cm size. For a sequence that magnifies the wing of a butterfly down to this light-diffracting scale structure, see images Z355/692-697.

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

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