Amazing Close-Up Photos of Bees

Closeup of a bee face

A close-up portrait of a type of bee called Osmia georgica. Photograph by Sue Boo / U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

The U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab has been studying the decline of bees over the past ten years. According to Sam Droege, who heads the lab, there are 4,000 bee species in North America, but most people can’t identify the different species.

“We [needed] really high-definition pictures that people can drill into and say, ‘You know the pattern of the crosshatching between the pits on the skin of the upper part of the bee is really different than this one.’”

Side view of the Osmia georgica. Photograph by Sue Boo/ U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

Side view of the Osmia georgica. Photograph by Sue Boo / U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

So Droege developed a system of taking high-definition photographs of the bees in order to document their specific features. Using a high-quality 60 mm macro lens and a device called a StackShot Rail, he takes a series of photos in increments where various parts of the bee are in focus. He later uses program called Zerene Stacker to combine the photos into a single, high-def photo all in focus.

You can learn how to take your own high-resolution photos of insects by watching the video below:

For more information, see NPR’s “Beauty is in the Eye of the Bee-Holder”.

See more high-def bee photos on the U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab’s Flickr page.

African Penguin Gets Custom Wetsuit

Penguin in wetsuit

Photo by Abigail Pheiffer

At the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT, a 14-year-old penguin named Yellow Pink molted his waterproof feathers last year. They never grew back. Without the waterproof feathers, swimming became uncomfortable for the penguin.

Fortunately, a team of veterinarians, trainers, and research staff made him a custom neoprene wetsuit out of an old aquarium diving suit. Now Yellow Pink can stay warm as as swims.

Watch a video of Yellow Pink swimming in his suit below:

For more information about Yellow Pink, visit the Mystic Aquarium website or find them on Facebook.

Learn more about African penguins on our African Penguin Facts Page.

Amazing Animal Camouflage Photos

Photographer Art Wolfe spent 35 years on every continent photographing animals in their natural habitat.  His book Vanishing Act showcases how well animals can escape the eye and blend into the background.

Here are a few examples:


Can you spot the cryptic grasshopper on the leaf?

Can you spot the leafy seadragon amidst the coral?

Can you spot the yellow-bellied marmot among the rocks?

Can you spot the giraffe amidst the trees?

Can you spot the blue-crowned parrot among the leaves?

Can you spot the American pika among the rocks?

Can you spot the two klipspringers (African antelope) among the rocks?

Can you spot the leopard among the grass?

To learn more and view more photographs, see:

Art Wolfe’s blog
The Daily Mail
Buy Vanishing Act from Amazon >