|Description:||Under a low magnification of 114X, this scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicted some of the exoskeletal morphologic characteristics displayed on the head region of an unidentified beetle found deceased in the suburbs of Decatur, Georgia. In this particular view, there seems to be numerous “hairs” growing up, out of the organism’s exoskeletal surface. These structures are sensorial in nature, and are known as “setae”, providing the insect with information about its environment including thermal changes, changes in wind direction, and the presence of chemicals such as poisons or pheromones. These setae are not composed of keratin, as in the case of mammals, but like the exoskeleton itself, are composed of chitin.|
As a member of the Class Insecta, and Phylum Arthropoda, this beetle was supported by its jointed exoskeleton, from which its Phylum, Arthro = jointed, and poda = legs, devired its name.
As arthropods, beetles possess an exoskeleton composed of chitin, which is a molecule 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. Scattered on the smooth exoskeletal surface were various forms of debris the organism had picked up from its environment.