|Description:||This scanning electron micrograph (SEM), highly magnified at 5664x, revealed the ornamentally adorned exoskeletal surface of an unidentified insect. The exoskeletal section was from the region occupying its inferior abdomen. Overall, the insect was described as being black, and its black wings were patterned with longitudinally oriented red stripes. It measured approximately .25 inches, and was found deceased on the ground of the Decatur, Georgia suburbs.|
Though in this case, the function of such structural diversity is unknown, in many cases these protuberances can act not only as a gender-specific morphologic characteristics, but provide mechanisms for thermoregulatory control, may be sensorial in nature, or provide structural stability.
To the unaided eye, these complex morphologic features are only truly brought into focus when viewed under such magnified conditions as those implemented here. The exoskeleton, as well as its adnexal structures, including the protuberances revealed in this image, scales, sensorial hairs, and antennae are all composed of chitin, which is a very hard, linear homopolymer that as a result, is very protective, supportive, and durable.