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.
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.