STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Springtail eye. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the primitive eye of the springtail Sminthurides bifidus (order Collembola). The eye is made up of six separate ocelli, each one consisting of a group of light- sensitive cells covered by a single cuticular lens. Several sensory hairs (sensilla) are also visible. The patterned, granular cuticle (horny skin) is characteristic of the springtail superfamily Poduroidea. Springtails are amongst the most primitive arthropods, dating back 300 million years in the fossil record. They are wingless and lack external reproductive appendages. Magnification: x 1000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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