Turkey Barbule Hooklets

Turkey is the common name for two different species of large poultry birds that belong to the family Meleagrididae. The best known of these species is Meleagris gallopavo, the common turkey native to North America that has been domesticated for hundreds of years. In the wild, the turkey inhabits woodlands, feeds on insects and seeds, and is gregarious, except during breeding season when the males, which are polygamous, often compete for females. Though raised primarily for meat production since the 1930s, turkeys were originally bred most often for the stunning, colorful beauty of their feathers. As demonstrated by the photomicrograph shown above, turkey feathers are also striking under the microscope, and if examined closely it can be observed that the primary feathers of the large bird tend to have more hooks spread out along the barbule than duck feathers.

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