Watch An Unusual Ensemble of Insects Take Flight in Extreme Slow Motion
August 21, 2020


In what’s believed to be the first footage of its kind, a stunningly slow-motion video by Dr. Adrian Smith captures a rare group of insects just as they lift off the ground. The NC State assistant professor utilized a black light to attract unusual insects, like a plume moth, eastern firefly, and a rosy maple moth that, as Smith notes, resembles “a flying muppet.” He then recorded the creatures’ flight maneuvers at 3,200 fps to capture their unique wing movements, which he explains during each step. More Continue reading

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Sinuous Snakes, Insects, and Florals Intertwine in Graphite Illustrations by Zoe Keller
June 27, 2020

Through a winding series of delicate illustrations, Zoe Keller (previously) explores the fragility of the natural world. In Scale & Bone, the Portland-based illustrator renders copper belly water snakes, San Francisco garters, and eastern diamondback rattlers through sinuous compositions that are ripe with skeletal remains, rows of butterflies, and dense patches of fungi. Each graphite drawing examines the tension between life and death and how nature’s processes are cyclical, including the shedding and regeneration of tube-like layers of skin. More Continue reading

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Millions of Monarchs Swarm Fake Hummingbird As It Captures Spectacular Footage of Their Flight
April 30, 2020

With its clementine-colored wings bordered with black lines and white spots, the monarch, also known as Danaus Plexippus, is a widely recognizable insect. As the weather changes and gets cooler, the monarchs migrate from their breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States and fly to central Mexico, where they form clustered colonies on oyamel fir trees to conserve heat until the days grow longer and they migrate north once again.  More Continue reading

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Intrusive Clowns, Preserved Cats, and Centuries-Old Hair: Museums Are Sharing Their Creepiest Objects
April 23, 2020

If you’re not into clowns, taxidermied creatures, or centuries-old piles of hair, you probably should avoid the #CreepiestObject hashtag on Twitter. In recent days, museums worldwide have been digging into their nightmare-inducing archives to uncover the most disturbing pieces their collections have to offer. Findings include a preserved mermaid-like animal, a cross-section of a pregnant cat, and a children’s toy that’s rumored to move on its own.
Similar to the virtual bouquets and the challenge to recreate famous artworks, the movement is one of the ways shuttered museums are engaging with—and now terrifying—their quarantined audiences. More Continue reading

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Florals, Beads, and Lace Embellish Whimsical Faux Taxidermy and Anatomical Sculptures
April 21, 2020

Based in Austria, Natalia Lubieniecka scours Vienna’s markets for antique objects, fabrics, and anatomical posters that eventually inform and meld into her peculiar sculptures. Whether it be a blush-colored heart enveloped in florals, a supine frog with exposed entrails, or a deceased bird covered in a lace bodice, her fantastical works speak to the fragile relationship between life and death.
The sculptor tells Colossal that her interest in organs and bodies began after a visit to Naturhistorische Museum Wien, where she encountered taxidermy of birds, insects, and other animals. More Continue reading

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Geometric Insects Navigate Sparse Flora in Pastel Illustrations by Hoàng Hoàng
April 5, 2020

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, graphic designer and illustrator Hoàng Hoàng merges science and art into a series of illustrations that mimic both insects in their natural habitats and those pinned in display cases for preservation. The Insect World Collection is comprised of varicolored stripes, semicircles, and other angular shapes that form multi-hued wings and rotund bodies. Set on pastel backgrounds, each arthropod features both Vietnamese and English translations of the insects’ common and scientific names. More Continue reading

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Lounging Seals, a Ravenous Pelican, and a Startled Owl Top Impressive Entries in Nature Photography Contest
April 1, 2020

Replete with stunning shots of Tuscan farmland and close-ups with spiders that reveal their prickly legs, the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition garnered an impressive array of images from creatives in 117 countries. Out of the 7,000 entries, Florian Ledoux won the top prize in the annual contest with his aerial photograph capturing nearly two-dozen seals resting on an ice mass floating in Antarctic waters. Categories range from wildlife and landscape to macro, providing an expansive look at nature’s most impressive qualities and characters—Caitlin Henderson exposes a Lichen Huntsman spider that’s attempting to disguise itself on teal-speckled tree bark, while Paul Holman serendipitously captures a fluffy owl in the midst of a surprise.  More Continue reading

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Magical Butterflies and Insects Stitched in Dense Thread Paintings by Emillie Ferris
March 18, 2020

Since she first began embroidering in 2013, Emillie Ferris (previously) has stitched a few rows nearly every day. The United Kingdom-based artist creates dense thread paintings of butterflies, bees, and other creatures surrounded by vibrant, scattered florals. Her lengthy stitches form precisely colored patterns and rows, offering a distinct texture to each wing and antennae.
Ferris tells Colossal that much of her work is based on vintage entomology illustrations, which she reviews multiple times before beginning one of her realistic projects that are “inspired by nature, with a tiny sense of magic.”

I love to try and emulate a sense of romanticism in my embroideries.

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A Hummingbird-Sized Dinosaur Skull Found Preserved in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber
March 12, 2020

Protected in a small piece of amber dating back 99 million years, an ancient skull is changing the timeline researchers have for when reptiles transitioned into the descendants of current-day birds. Found in Myanmar, the oculudentavis khaungraae had at least 23 sharp teeth on its upper jaw, which suggests that the dinosaur ate insects, according to an article published in Nature this week. Its eye was canonical with small pupils and resembles those of a modern lizard, while the edge of the socket indicates that it was well-equipped to see in bright light. More Continue reading

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Floral-and-Frond Compositions Shape Energetic Wildlife by Raku Inoue
March 2, 2020

Known for his botanical arrangements of beetles, insects, and butterflies, Raku Inoue once again is bringing flora and fauna together. His previous work often positions the animals in stationary poses, resembling a portrait of an owl or a scorpion pinned inside a glass case as part of a collection. The latest pieces in his Natura Wildlife series, though, indicate a liveliness and inclination for movement, from a whale blasting orange flowers from its blowhole to a seahorse grasping a Q-tip. More Continue reading

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