Butterfly scales, SEM

Butterfly scales, SEM

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Butterfly wing. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of scales on a butterfly. A butterfly is covered in many tiny scales. The scales are modified hairs, or setae, and 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: x700 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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Keywords: animal, biological, biology, butterfly, coloured, entomological, entomology, false-coloured, fauna, hair, hairs, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, lepidoptera, many, multiple, nature, scale, scales, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, seta, setae, wildlife, wing, zoological, zoology

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