DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) goby fish skin and neuromasts (Awaous guamensis). Fish skin like many other vertebrates consists of two principal layers; superficial epidermis and deeper dermis. The epidermis consists of two or more layers. The deepest is a series of closely packed, discrete cells called the germinal layer, or stratum germinativum. The outer epidermal cells are formed from the germinal layer. Body fish slimes are produced by epidermal cells and their degradation. Epidermal cells can have highly convoluted surfaces that retain slime which has a primary function of protection from pathogens and parasites. The neuromast is a sensory organ (mechanosensory) that consists of a cluster of sensory hair cells that are connected to nerve cells. They are used to detect motion or vibrations in the water, especially hydrodynamic water flow across the fish surface. Magnification: x140 when shortest axis printed at 25 mililmetres.
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