Springtail skin, SEM

Springtail skin, SEM

C029/6104 Rights Managed

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Springtail body, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Springtails are primitive hexapods that are no longer considered to be insects. They have existed unchanged for millions of years, and are considered living fossils. They live mainly in leaf litter, and feed on decaying organic matter. They take their name from their ability to flick their tail downwards, causing them to leap in the air in order to avoid predators. Springtail skin is covered in a hexagonal or rhombic comb-like pattern of nanocavities that effectively repel liquids and protect them against suffocation in wet conditions as they breath largely through their skin and not trachea. Magnification: x1500, when printed 10 cm wide.

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Keywords: ancient, animal, appendage, apterygota, apterygote, breath, collembola, hexapod, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, living fossil, micrograph, microscopy, nanocavities, nature, organism, primitive, scanning electron micrograph, science, sem, skin, springtail, wildlife, wingless, zoology

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