Wednesday, March 19, 2014

You've Never Seen Insects This Way Before

As female worker ants age, they're reassigned from caring for larvae and the queen to foraging for food outside the colony, which may explain why this stooped old girl looks so defeated. © David M. Phillips
by Tom Haushalter

And you'll never un-see insects this way again. (Disclaimer: UPNE assumes no responsibility for the content of your nightmares.)

But if you're not the sort of person for whom turning a mason jar to look at a praying mantis is plenty—not like some of us who, when we were little and believed that all like creatures simply got along, thought nothing of putting a male and female in the same jar, only to find it a few hours later containing just the female and a pair of disembodied, discarded wings...

If some of the hard truths of the natural world haven't scarred you for life—breathe—keep reading.

Because, seriously, bugs are cool. What we cannot know about Phylum Arthropoda from the naked eye is the extraordinary complexity and intricate construction of these tiny animals. And when you inspect them using an electron microscope, you see indeed how highly evolved insects are.

Most of us don't have an electron microscope. Fortunately, David M. Phillips does, and his microscopy photographs of insects—some 150 of them—have been collected into a single, beautiful volume, releasing in April from ForeEdge, titled Art and Architecture of Insects.

Phillips homes in on a fascinating array of insects, and his images, in crisp detail, reveal their minute anatomy to be even stranger and more awesome than you ever imagined. The photos may not change the way you feel about little creepy-crawly things, but even the most severe entomophobe has to admit: They're kind of beautiful.

Here's a sampling of some of the beauties you'll see up close in Phillips' book:

The veins in this book louse's wings resemble leaf veins, but should not be mistaken for the things you willingly place between two pages to preserve. © David M. Phillips

This beetle grub larva's legs aren't all there yet, so it moves telescopically, sliding its segments inward and outward. It doesn't get far. © David M. Phillips

A thrip, commonly known as a thunderfly, likes to come by the thousands during foul weather and feed on crops, so it's okay to hate this one if you're in commercial agriculture. © David M. Phillips

In this stare-down with a housefly, you can't be sure which of the hundreds of ways it is presently sizing you up. © David M. Phillips

A head louse clinging to strands of human hair, presented here with apologies. © David M. Phillips
Don't let the whiskered antennae and tentacley mouthparts of this male mosquito frighten you. Males don't bite. © David M. Phillips

Why, yes, you can pre-order Art and Architecture of Insects! Look for it on shelves April 8th.

1 comment:

  1. I hate bugs, especially the ones with hairy legs and claws and whiskered antennae, but I totally want to read this book.


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