Nature Photos Show Complexity of Life   Leave a comment



Timema poppensis perfectly camouflaged on its host, Redwood Sequoia sempervirens, California

Overall Winner

“A major factor in choosing this image as the winner is that it manages a seemly impossible task: to visualise an immensely long-term ecological process in a single static shot. 

A moment’s thought reveals that the evolution of this camouflage may not be simple, because this sequioa is the insect’s host plant. While the insect benefits from its camouflage, the tree (presumably) suffers increased herbivory. This is ecological coevolution along the lines of Batesian mimicry.”

–Harold et al., BMC Ecology


Multiple flower forms and phenologies visible in a subalpine meadow (Colorado)

Overall Runner-up

“As a runner-up, we have selected a dazzling scene from Colorado of a subalpine flower meadow. Composing a photograph of this nature is surprisingly difficult, and Benjamin Blonder, a PhD student from University of Arizona, deserves congratulation for such a captivating portrayal of what it means to be biodiverse.

The emphasis here is not on survival, but on reproduction: the dull but functional photosynthetic green seems an almost insignificant background compared to the waving of riotously coloured floral genitalia. Although it can be seen as a poster child for the beauty of our science, it is only when we force ourselves to view the picture through an ecologist’s eye that the true depths are revealed. What is it that allows such a diversity of forms and colours to coexist in an otherwise similar patch of ground?”


Scarce swallowtail, Scabius flower and Polistine wasp

Community, Population and Macroecology, Category Winner

Says the photographer, professor Michael Siva-Jothy from the University of Sheffield:

I was taking pictures of scarce swallowtails on Scabius flowers when I heard a Polistine wasp buzzing around. It was hovering behind the butterflies and then darting in and body-checking them. Although I didn’t witness predation I later saw a wasp dismembering a skipper in the same area. I’m pretty sure this wasp was trying to predate the swallowtail. I like the picture because it was difficult to take—the wasp was moving very fast and the focal plane was very shallow—and because it captures three trophic levels in one.”


Bulldog Ant Fight

“Communication in bulldog ants (Myrmecia nigriscapa,) Sydney, Australia”

–Sylvain Dubey, University of Lausanne


Leap Frog

“The two frogs [were] enjoying the sun on the branch when the duck jumped up on the branch. The frogs jumped for their lives!”

–Thomas Jensen, Medical Prognosis Institute, Denmark




Blue Tide

“Seasonal winds can cause the upwelling of nutrients which in turn can cause plankton populations to bloom as ‘red tides.’ Here, a dinoflagellate population (Noctiluca sp.) turns the ocean a luminous blue color as the disturbance by the wind triggers a light-generating chemical reaction. The production of light is thought to attract fish predators that prey on potential predators of the dinoflagellates.”

–Bruce Anderson, University of Stellenbosch


Sticking Together

“Arabian babbler (Turdoides squamiceps) group allopreening in front of a neighboring group during a border confrontation.”

–Yitzchak Ben Mocha, Tel Aviv University


Posted July 8, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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