DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Perch fish scale. Polarised light micrograph of a fish scale from a European perch (Perca fluviatilis). Fish scales arise from the skin of a fish. They are made from dentine, and are similar to teeth and hair. Perch fish scales have a wavy edge (top) and are of a type called ctenoid scales. These scales grow layers of dentine each year, allowing the age of the fish to be measured by the pattern of successive lines seen here. Most of the scale is under the skin and overlapping with other scales, but the stump (bottom) bears spines which are exposed. The scales protect from parasites and injuries. Magnification: x3 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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