Under a low magnification of 49x, this 2005 scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted the wing venation of an unidentified deceased dragonfly found on the grounds of the Decatur, Georgia suburbs. The wing veins fulfill a number of functions including the regulation of the insect's temperature by allowing its blood to circulate through the beating wings, thereby, dissipating excessive heat, or warming its blood when it's too cool. Due to an increased turgor pressure produced by fluid-filled vessels the wing veins act as supportive struts, maintaining the structural shape of the bilateral wings during flight. The wings also act as sensory structures, due to the presence of sensorial hairs, or 'setae' on their surfaces, which can be clearly seen in this image.
CDC/ Janice Carr
December 2, 2012
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