STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Python skin. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of scales on the skin of a python (family Pythonidae). The scales of a snake protect it as it moves along the ground or through trees. They vary in size, with larger flat sales on the underside that help gain traction for movement. The scales do not grow and so as the snake grows it sheds its skin to reveal a layer of new, larger scales.
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