Friday snaps: Igor Siwanowicz

Igor Siwanowicz is a Polish-born biologist who works as a technical assistant in behavioral genetics at the Max Planck institute of Neurobiology in Munich.  He’s also a world class nature photographer, specializing in macro photography of animals.  I especially love his mantises.  Here are some of his images (click to enlarge); you can see many more at the Blepharopsis website—the word is a genus of mantids—or in his book Animals Up Close (a nice Xmas gift for a budding biologist).

The first is Idolomantis diabolica, a mantis that mimics a flower.  It sits quietly on a plant, arms extended as in the picture.   A credulous pollinator flies into the middle, expecting a pollen and nectar treat, and . . .

Here’s another flower mimic, the orchid mantis, sculpted by natural selection to fool its prey.

How he does it:

19 thoughts on “Friday snaps: Igor Siwanowicz

  1. Oh I love Igor!

    Found him on deviantART years ago, have talked to him a few times, he’s wonderful. I’m so envious of all the animals he has gotten to meet up close.

    Since I make plush bugs, and he had told a friend about my work, she commissioned Igor’s favorite (Idolomantis diabolica) as a gift.
    http://weirdbuglady.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d1pg87r
    http://weirdbuglady.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d1pg89a

    I didn’t realize he had a book, thanks for the link, I’m definitely buying it!

  2. Wow, these are amazing. Thanks for posting.
    I really like the mantis, even the close up devil view. The first looks like some operatic wizard about to cast a spell on someone. Gorgeous.
    That smiling lizard is really cute too. What is that creature?
    The butterflies too, how’d he get that one? Does he use glue or anything artificial like that?

    1. Yeah.. That “smiling lizard”.. What is that thing?? Whatever it is.. just incredible.

      The other day, I had gone to the Philadelphia zoo, and saw a marmoset there. Just an incredible creature. I would have sat there for half an hour just watching that thing.. if not for the friend I had gone with.

      Each of Jerry’s animal blogs remind me of “the conceit of hindsight” chapter from Dawkins’s ‘Ancestors Tale’. Every animal has a history of evolution as long as us.. and is as beautiful as us..

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