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[FMP-field: image]

This is a highly magnified photograph of a glochid taken with a scanning electron microscope. Glochids (or glochidia) are a form of defense mechanism. Glochids are readily detached from the areole, such as by animals (including humans!) who brush up against them. Glochids are especially abundant in the genus Opuntia. The glochids contain downward pointing barbs that force themselves into the skin, causing great discomfort (and I am speaking here from personal experience).

Photo by K. R. Robertson taken on a SEM at the Illinois Natural History Survey.

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