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Brochosomes, SEM

Brochosomes, SEM

C021/4950

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Credit

STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Brochosomes, Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Brochosomes are intricately structured microscopic granules secreted by leafhoppers (the family Cicadellidae of the insect order Hemiptera) and typically found on their body surface. After each molt, most species of leafhoppers release droplets of the brochosome-containing fluid through the anus and actively spread them over the newly formed integument.This behavior is called anointing. The transport of brochosomes is facilitated by groups and rows of strong setae on the legs. The resulting coating makes the integument highly repellent to water (superhydrophobic)and to the leafhopper's own liquid excreta, the latter often being sugary and sticky, and thus potentially dangerous for the insect. Magnification: x 12000 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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