Common firefly pulvillar pad, SEM

Common firefly pulvillar pad, SEM

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Caption: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Common firefly pulvillar pad tenet setae (Photinus pyralis). Photinus pyralisis the common firefly and is known as the Eastern, Common Eastern, or Big Dipper firefly. It is also called a lightning bug or beetle (family Lampyridae). The most commonly known fireflies are nocturnal. Shown here is the leg pulvillar pad (with tenent setae). This beetle is named for its ability to flash its abdomen with a yellowish-green fluorescent colour. The firefly does this by using an enzyme (luciferase) to oxidize a chemical, called luciferin, in a chamber in its posterior abdominal segments. The firefly controls the flashes by regulating the amount of oxygen that enters the chamber. The flashes of light are used to attract mates. The production of light by an organism is known as bioluminescence. Magnification: x800 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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