SUSUMU NISHINAGA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SUSUMU NISHINAGA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Moth proboscis. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the proboscis (tubular feeding organ) of a moth (order Lepidoptera). The spiral-shaped proboscis is a distinctive characteristic of butterflies and moths and it is used to suck the nectar of flowers and other fluid matter. At rest it is carried rolled into a spiral between the two labial palps (yellow), which carry taste organs. The proboscis is extended to take in food by means of muscular action and increased blood pressure. In some moths the proboscis may be extremely long, often longer than the body.
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