Tag Archives: butterflies

A Caiman Wearing a Crown of Butterflies Photographed by Mark Cowan 

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Photograph by Mark Cowan

While traveling through the Amazon to study reptile and amphibian diversity with the Herpetology Division at the University of Michigan, photographer Mark Cowan happened upon a strange sight: a caiman whose head was nearly covered in butterflies. The phenomenon itself isn’t particularly unusual, salt is critical to the survival of many creatures like butterflies and bees who sometimes drink tears from reptiles in regions where the mineral is scarce (we’ve seen the same thing happen with turtles). What made this sight so unusual was seeing the butterflies organize themselves into three different species groups atop the caiman’s head.

Uh, also, that side eye!

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Cowan’s photograph received special commendation from the 2016 Royal Society Publishing photography competition, you can see the rest of this year’s finalists here.

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Welded Insects Produced From Salvaged Metal Scraps by John Brown 

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Gathering spare pieces of metal, John Brown assembles his findings into sculptures of colorful butterflies, insects, and birds. Although the assemblages are formed from salvaged materials like nails and bicycle chains, the pieces somehow remain delicate, wings appearing just as thin as a butterfly’s own. After welding each piece together, Brown finishes the sculpture by painting the wings with oil paint, accurately copying the markings of specific species such as the Holly Blue and Red Admiral butterflies.

The Wales-based sculptor has lived in the rural west of his country for the past eight years, inspired by the fauna-rich valleys that compose the region. You can see more of his metal insects and other welded figures on his Facebook and Etsy page. (via Lustik)

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Artist Paul Villinski Brings Flight to the Gallery with Swarms of Repurposed Aluminum Can Butterflies 

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Fallen, 2015 Steel, aluminum (found cans), wire, soot, Flashe; 62-3/4″ x 113-1/4″ x 9-1/2″

Working with repurposed objects like aluminum cans and old gloves, artist Paul Villinski (previously) explores themes of flight, environmentalism, as well as addiction and recovery. His primary muse has taken the form of butterflies rendered in multiples as they swirl across walls, or carefully organize into shapes (fun fact: a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope).

“Underlying everything is the drive to simply share human experience in a way that elicits feelings of recognition and belonging — an impulse behind much of the history of art,” says Villinski. “I want to create images and experiences that allow viewers to ‘identify,’ to feel our commonality, to know that they are not alone.”

The son of an Air Force navigator, Villinski is an experienced pilot of sailplanes, paragliders and single-engine airplanes. These experiences of soaring through the sky are something he hopes to connect his audience with through his artwork. He shares with Jonathan Ferrara Gallery:

I’m not alone in this: from Leonardo to Lindbergh to Lenny Kravitz, the desire to “fly away” has had a grip on our collective imagination for millennia. Now and then, I have the extraordinary luck to spend a few hours floating along on currents of warm air, the earth’s surface slipping silently by, the mundane anxieties of daily life thousands of feet below the long, white wings of my glider. Back in the studio, I wish I could bring everyone I’ve ever met along in the tiny cockpit of my sailplane. Instead, I look for forms to describe the longing to enter the sky, to get us all aloft, even from within the confines of the gallery.

You can see Villinski’s current exhibition Departure at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans through December 26, 2015.

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Mirror VIII, 2015. Wood frame, aluminum (found cans) wire, steel, Flashe; 50-1/2″ x 43-1/4″ x 9-1/2″

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Cirrus, 2015. Powder coated steel, found aluminum cans, wire, blue Flashe; Overall: 114 x 37 x 8 in

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Lense, 2015. Aluminum (found cans), wire, Flashe, latex on MDF and steel panel; 48″ x 48″ x 11″

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Paradigm (installation view), 2014. Wall: Return Floor: Self-Portrait

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Arcus, 2012. Aluminum (found cans), stainless steel wire, Flashe; 62” x 142” x 9”

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Arcus, detail

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Nightfall, 2015. Found gloves, rivets, steel; 122″ x 36″ x 12″

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Nightfall, detail

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Blooms of Insect Wings Created by Photographer Seb Janiak 

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Mimesis – Fecunditatis, 2014. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

Mimesis is an ongoing photomontage project by Paris-based photographer Seb Janiak that depicts the wings of insects as the petals of flowers. Janiak is deeply interested in the mechanisms behind mimicry in nature, where an organism develops appendages, textures, and colors that directly mirror its surroundings. This process involves a strange interaction between different organisms he describes as “a complex co-evolutionary mechanism involving three species: the model, the imitator and the dupe.”

To create each artwork Janiak scours antique stores and taxidermist shops to find examples of wings which he then photographs at extremely high resolution. The pieces are digitally edited and pieced together into flower-like forms (a sort of meta mimic of a mimic) which are then output as chromogenic prints measuring nearly 6 feet square.

The Mimesis series, which now comprises 22 pieces, was shown for the first time at the Photo Shanghai art fair last September. The series also won an IPA Lucy award earlier this year. All images courtesy the artist. (via My Modern Met)

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Mimesis – Lubon Tranquillitatis, 2014. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Lubhyati Solitudinis, 2014. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Lacus Luxuriae, 2014. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Hibiscus Trinium, 2012. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Aphyllae Maleakht, 2014. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Precognitus Christium, 2014. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Tradescantia Ganymedia, 2012. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Precognitus Christium, 2014. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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Mimesis – Ornithogale Venusiaïs, 2012. Chromogenic print. Format 180 x 180cm (70.9 x 70.9 in)

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A Beautiful Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis Timelapse in HD 

Much has been written lately about the plight of the monarch, the most iconic butterfly in North America that may soon be headed for the endangered species list. The use of herbicides in the U.S. has completely decimated milkweed plants, the insect’s primary food source, while illegal logging is quickly destroying the monarch’s wintering habitat in Mexico. Over 90% of the butterfly’s population has vanished over the last 25 years.

Luckily there’s a bit of hope. The U.S. government recently dedicated millions of dollars to foster the growth of milkweed, while organizations like monarch Watch offers free milkweed for restoration projects while teaching people how to raise and release butterflies at home. We hatched about 20 butterflies at our house this summer here in Chicago, while some people are a bit more obsessed, raising hundreds of them in a season.

This amazing HD timelapse from Front Yard Video shows the full metamorphosis of a monarch from a caterpillar to butterfly. What you see here is infuriatingly difficult to witness in person because after weeks of waiting the transformation to and from a chrysalis takes just a few minutes. (via The Kid Should See This)

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A Pair of Butterflies Photographed While Sipping on Turtle Tears in Ecuador 

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Apparently if you’re a thirsty butterfly, one option available to you is a refreshing sip of turtle tears. No, this isn’t a staged photo masquerading as science, it’s an unusual behavior known as lachryphagy (tear drinking), and is one of several ways butterflies obtain moisture and nutrients. Captured here by Ama la Vida TV, this photo shows two Dryas iulia drinking tears from the eyes of a few turtles. The photo won the 2014 Wikimedia Picture of the Year. (via Laughing Squid, Twisted Sifter)

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