Magnified 598x, this 2006 scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted an enlarged view of the chitinous, exoskeletal surface of a male louse, Pediculus humanus var. corporis. In this particular view, the exoskeleton seems to be configured in 'accordion-like' convolutions, which is visible with the naked eye on the insect's abdomen. Chitin is a molecule made up of bound units of acetylglucosamine, which is joined in such a way as to allow for increased points at which hydrogen bonding can occur. In this way chitin provides increased strength, and durability as an exoskeletal foundation. Note the sparse amount of 'setae', or sensorial 'hairs' in this area of the abdominal surface.
CDC/ Joseph Strycharz, Ph.D.; Kyong Sup Yoon, Ph.D.; Frank Collins, Ph.D.
November 2, 2012
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