Mystery Image #1


Care to guess what this is?

A. a dragonfly wing.
B. a solar panel array.
C. winter fields in the mountains of Thailand.
D. a gecko foot.
E. the award-winning roof of a new modern art museum in Seattle.

Answer below the fold. . .

Yes, it’s a dragonfly wing. (I had to smudge out the scale bar on this one to keep it from being too easy.)

I was impressed by how, at a quick glance, this image was devoid of scale indicators – I really did think it was a macroscopic image of a landscape, or some kind of sculpture. And although I’ve looked at dragonfly wings under a dissection microscope, and I’ve seen how their surfaces undulate from vein to vein, I still automatically think of them as flat and stained-glass-like – a habit I’m not sure I can break!

This photo, by Gregory Paulsen, was a finalist in the Energizer Ultimate Photo contest at National Geographic.


  1. #1 Matthew
    October 29, 2008

    that’s incredible.
    I had no clue they looked like that!

  2. #2 wunx~
    October 30, 2008

    Bugs are so totally cool! I would love to have a scanning electron microscope of my own to examine the world. Heck, I’d even settle for a professional quality binocular scope.

  3. #3 zayzayem
    October 31, 2008

    I thought it looked like a bicycle tire. But that wasn’t an option.

    The markings look like someone has been writing on the inside of window panels – its crazy.

  4. #4 Ah! My! Wig!
    September 3, 2009

    Wow! i always though dragonfly wings were flat and stained-glass like 😀 this is awesome

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