POWER AND SYRED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY POWER AND SYRED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Feather barbules. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of barbule hooks on a feather from a swallow, (Hirundo sp.). The flat broad vane of a feather is formed by comb-like rows of filaments called barbs, which project from either side of a central shaft. Each barb has rows of minute filaments called barbules, the barbules on one side bear hooks, while those on the other have a groove. The arrangement is such as to hook adjacent barbs together, interlinking the whole structure. Thus the feather is strong yet flexible and light, making it ideal for flight. Magnification: x844 at 5x7cm size. Magnification: x2,050 at 7x5 inch size.
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