CLOUDS HILL IMAGING LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLOUDS HILL IMAGING LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of scales on the wing of a Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta). These scales have an intricate design and overlap like the tiles on the roof of a building. They allow heat and light to enter, and also insulate the insect. Layers of wing scales may be pigmented to produce darker colours. Blues, greens, reds and iridescence are usually produced by structural colouration, where tiny ridges in the scales break up and reflect light to give a coloured or shimmering iridescent appearance. Magnification: x150 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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