Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the claw of a head louse clinging to a strand of human hair. The head louse is parasitic insect which inhabits the hair of the head, gluing its eggs (called nits) to the shafts of individual hairs. It lives on blood, which it sucks from the scalp. Credit: Karsten Schneider/Science Photo Library
Inner ear hair cells. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of sensory hair cells from the inner ear. These cells are surrounded by a fluid called endolymph. As sound enters the ear it causes waves to form in the endolymph, which in turn cause the hairs to move. The movement is converted to an electrical signal that is passed on to the brain. Each crescent-shaped arrangement of hairs lies atop a single cell.
micro-scopic: Moth wing scales. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of scales (blue) on the wings of a common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella). These delicate powdery scales are formed from tiny stacked modified hairs, or setae, made of chitin, a common substance in insect exoskeletons. The iridescence of the colours of a moth’s wings is produced by the diffraction of light by the microscopic ridges on these scales.
Cochlea from Inner Ear. Color-enhanced SEM of the inside of a guinea pig inner ear showing the hearing organ, or cochlea. Running along the spiral structure are rows of sensory cells which respond to different frequencies of sound. The whole organ is just a few millimeters long.