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 composed of interlocking plates, which is not far from the case. In this region, between two exoskeletal segments, in order to provide flexibility to this patent joint, the chitinous components were arranged in a plate-like manner, attached to one another with thin, though strong layers of exoskeletal chitin. 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.
CDC/ Joseph Strycharz, Ph.D.; Kyong Sup Yoon, Ph.D.; Frank Collins, Ph.D.
November 2, 2012