insects

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Art Design

Vintage Porcelain Dishes Covered in Hordes of Hand-Painted Ants

January 6, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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While the standard response to insects crawling across your food or dinner plate is usually nothing less than repulsion, that didn’t stop German artist Evelyn Bracklow of La Philie from creating these one-of-a-kind vintage porcelain dishes covered in hordes of hand-painted ants. Bracklow says of the pieces:

The idea for this work resulted from pure chance, when the sight of a carelessly placed plate—by then wandered by ants—fascinated me so much that I felt the urge to simply conserve this image. Fear, disgust, fascination and admiration: this very interplay of feelings constitutes the charm of the work. Furthermore, to me, the ants symbolize all the stories that any formerly discarded piece of porcelain carries with it. Where one once dined and drank, today ants bustle in ever new formations, every single one applied with a great love for detail.

It’s not hard to see that each piece is incredibly detailed and well-executed, making it strangely beautiful despite what it portrays. This balance of superb execution versus creepy subject matter may be the reason she’s had no problem selling the objects over on Etsy, where a number of them are currently available.

 

 



Science

Terrifying 'Orchid Mantis' is Camouflaged to Look Exactly Like a Pink Orchid Flower

December 26, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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In an unparalleled feat of natural selection the Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) from Southeast Asia has evolved to look almost exactly like an orchid flower in order to lure unsuspecting prey. If looking like a plant isn’t impressive enough the clever insect also changes color from pink to brown according to its environment. (via Boing Boing)

 

 



Photography

Macro Bee Portraits by Sam Droege and the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

December 20, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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Courtesy Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Sam Droege is the head of the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program in Maryland, an organization that monitors the health and habitat of bees in the U.S. as well as creating archival reference catalogs that aid researchers in the identification of bee species in North America. The project is no small task as there are literally thousands of bee species in the U.S., some of which vary in only the most minute ways that may not even be distinguishable to the naked eye.

To aid in the identification process the USGS Bee Inventory relies on extremely high resolution photography, an initiative led by Droege that has been ongoing since 2010. Droege’s macro photos of bees are so clear and well executed that they practically pass as works of art in their own right. He shares with Flickr:

“When we started looking at these pictures, I just wanted to gaze at these shots for long periods of time,” Sam says. “I had seen these insects for many years, but the level of detail was incredible. The fact that everything was focused, the beauty and the arrangement of the insects themselves — the ratios of the eyes, the golden means, the french curves of the body, and the colors that would slide very naturally from one shade to another were just beautiful! It was the kind of thing that we could not achieve at the highest level of art.”

You can see many more of these bee portraits (as well as photos of other insects and even animals) over on Flickr. (via Daring Fireball, Flickr)

 

 



Illustration

New Ornate Insects Drawn by Alex Konahin

November 29, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Latvia-based graphic artist and illustrator Alex Konahin (previously) recently completed work on a new series of ornate insect drawings titled Little Wings. The illustrations were made using pens and india ink in his distinctive style that makes used of ornate scrolls and intricate floral designs. If this is the first time you’ve seen Konahin’s work, be sure to check out his amazing Anatomy drawings, and you can also see lots more on Facebook and Tumblr. (via Faith is Torment)

 

 



Art

New Animal and Insect Assemblages Made from Repurposed Objects by Edouard Martinet

November 20, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Butterfly. 25″ x 14″ x 22″ H. Legs: bike brake parts, pieces of windshield wipers, bike chains. Abdomen: old acetylene light tank. Thorax: car suspension part, small spoon parts, cream chargers. Head: headlights, bike parts. Butterfly trunk: clock springs. Hair: pieces of a typewriter daisy wheel. Antennae: brake cables, drawer knobs.

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Butterfly, detail.

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Butterfly, detail.

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Rhinoceros beetle. 13″ x 11″ x 6″ H. Legs: bike brake parts, bike derailleur chain, bike chain ring. Head and horn: small bike brake, pieces of a typewriter daisy wheel. Antennae: small bike parts. Thorax: shoe tree, bike Luxor headlight. Abdomen: motorbike light, shell-shaped drawer handles.

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Rhinoceros beetle, detail.

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Three-spined stickleback. 34″ x 5″ x 13″ H. Body: moped fenders and chain guards. Bones: tablespoons. Gills: car door parts. Fins: cake tins, fish slices, compasses. Tail: motorbike silencer, fish slices. Eyes: flashlights. Head: Solex front fenders.

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Moth. 31″ x 16″ x 7″ H. Wings: moped chain guards (rusted and patinated). Abdomen: motorbike headlights. Thorax: very old car headlamp. Legs: large upholstery tacks, car boot hinges, pieces of windshield wipers, bike brake parts, chain guards. Head: old rear position lamps, bike parts, pieces of a daisy wheel. Butterfly trunk: clock springs. Antennae: aluminium heating resistor.

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Moth, detail.

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Wasp. 11″ x 6″ x 16″ H. Abdomen: steel tips for boots, bike headlights. Thorax and head: steel tips and bells from bikes and typewriters. Eyes: vintage watch case. Antennae: spectacles arms. Legs: bike brakes, bike chain, spoon handles. Wings: glass.

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Red ant. 25″ x 16″ x 9″ H. Thorax and head: sauce spoons, car parts. Eyes: marbles. Abdomen: bike or motorbike headlights. Antennae: small bike chains. Legs: cream chargers, brake parts, chains, alarm clock feet, spoon handles.

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Dragonfly. 37″ x 49″ x 15″ H. Abdomen: patinated copper/brass bicycle pump, car horn part, parts of old acetylene bike lights (at the ends). Thorax: two motorbike rear lights, shell-shaped drawer handles, big upholstery tacks. Head: car or lorry old stop lights, parts of acetylene bike lights, parts of a daisy wheel for typewriter (hair from the mouth). Legs: tubes, bike cable guide, wing nuts, wire. Wings: umbrella ribs, wire, wire netting for hen coops.

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Dragonfly, detail.

When looking at these perfectly assembled sculptures by French artist Edouard Martinet (previously) it’s difficult to believe the raw materials he used ever existed in another form. Yet every head, thorax, leg, wing, and eye from these assorted creatures was once part of a car, bicycle, typewriter, or other found object. Reading through his material lists it becomes clear how completely thorough and judicious Martinet is in selecting the perfect objects to realize his vision, truly a master of his craft. Via Sladmore Contemporary:

His degree of virtuosity is unique: he does not solder or weld parts. His sculptures are screwed together. This gives his forms an extra level of visual richness – but not in a way that merely conveys the dry precision of, say, a watchmaker. There is an X-Factor here, a graceful wit, a re-imagining of the obvious in which a beautifully finished object glows not with perfection, but with character, with new life. Martinet takes about a month to make a sculpture and will often work on two or three pieces at the same time. It took him just four weeks to make his first sculpture and 17 years for his most recent completion!

If you want to see these new pieces up close, Martinet opens a new exhibition at Sladmore Contemporary in London, November 27 through January 31, 2014. You can see several additional new works on his website.

 

 



Design

Unknown Artistic Insect Builds a White Picket Fence to Protect its Nest of Eggs

September 2, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Earlier this summer while on vacation in Peru, graduate student Troy Alexander fell in love with the Amazon rainforest, and on his return asked an advisor at Georgia Tech if he could take a leave of absence and return to Peru as volunteer researcher. Three weeks later, Alexander found himself on a plane heading back South America to begin work for the Tambopata Macaw Project which focuses on parrot biology and conservation. It was a decision that would lead to his potential discovery of a new species of life, or at least one so rare nobody has a clue what it is.

While assisting with the project, Alexander stumbled onto fascinating structures attached to tree trunks, including a blue tarp that appeared to have been built by a spider or insect. The artistic organism had constructed a protective barrier around its egg sac complete with evenly placed vertical supports and perfectly parallel strands of webbing that unmistakably mimics a white picket fence. Though he had no idea what built it, he snapped a few photos, hoping that when he got home an entomologist would help him zero in on the moth or spider responsible and that would be the end of the story.

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Weeks after his return, Alexander hoped for a quick ID by posting a photos to Reddit’s popular “whatsthisbug” subreddit where biologists and experts in both insects and arachnids were all stumped. He says the photos have now been viewed “by the professional entomologists moderating Whatsthisbug, but also entomologists at Cal Tech, Georgia Tech, Rice University, the Smithsonian Institute, and more… [but] still no definite confirmation.” Some suspect that it could be something similar to the
Ribbed-Cocoon Maker Moth which also builds a protective structure, but nothing so distinct as this fence.

Scientists estimate there are still millions of undiscovered plant and animal species on Earth, so it’s no surprise that there are still plenty of undiscovered lifeforms out there, it’s just amazing that something so creative has never been documented before. (via Why Evolution is True)