Under this highly magnified scanning electron micrographic (SEM) view, some of the wondrous ultrastructural shapes found on the surface of an unidentified white moth were revealed. This moth, discovered deceased in the Decatur, Georgia suburbs, was a member of the Phylum Arthropoda, Order Lepidoptera. Both the scale, and the exoskeleton itself, are both made up of the same material known as 'chitin'. Chitin is a molecule that itself is made up of bound units of acetylglucosamine, 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. This chitinous exoskeleton gives rise to a myriad of morphologic shapes, including this scale, setae, antennae, legs, and mouthparts.
CDC/ Janice Carr, Oren Mayer
December 1, 2012
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