DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Feather vane. Light micrograph of a part of a vane of a contour feather, from the wing of a bird. Each vane consists of several barbs (black) bearing barbules (brown) with troughs on one side, which interlock with barbules with hooks on the neighbouring barb. This locks the barbs together, and makes the vane airtight and suitable for flight. The barbules of feathers occasionally become separated but they interlock again when the bird preens its plumage. Magnification: x10 when printed at 10 centimetres across.
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