Vivid Reptiles

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VRHD - Winter Phase Pigmentation

When we bring the focal plane a little closer we can see the actual structures that contain the purple pigment. The outer cuticle of the scales is clear - this can be seen around the margins of the scales. The translucent layer tends to give the scales a soft, slightly out of focus look. The stripping away of a pigment layer(s?) allows us to  to see how the purple pigment is deposited at the microscopic level. If I could have brought the camera a little closer yet we would be able to see tiny, reticulated patterns reminiscent of those found in certain translucent agates. Another interesting tidbit we get from this photo is that it shows the presence of small amounts of true red pigment.