A deceased reader’s wildlife photos

Today we have photos from Andreas Kay, a superb  nature photographer who lived in Ecuador and who came to my notice when he rediscovered the frog Atelopus coynei and wrote to inform me in 2012.

Andreas died of brain cancer last October at only 56. Lou Jost, who knew Andreas and now has custody of his massive collection of photos, wrote a memoriam to him that you can read here.  In response to my call for photos, Lou sent some of Andreas’s, which will constitute part of his legacy. Lou’s words are indented:

I am sharing with you some of Andreas Kay’s last photos before he died. It was important to him to expose people to the biodoversity of Ecuador, so he gave me a copy of his hard drive and encouraged me to help spread the photos after his death. There are more than thirty thousand of them.
In this set I include two weevils, a jumping spider, a harvestman with strange green pedipalps, and some treehoppers. I believe all of these were taken in the vicinity of Puyo, in Amazonian Ecuador.









Andreas Kay


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I remember Andreas’ story – very sad. But I am happy his beautiful work stands in his memory.

    • jenny Haniver
      Posted February 10, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Well put.

      These are exquisite and captivating photos. In some of them the line between nature and abstract art merges or is blurred and so some of the images become beautiful optical illusions in that way for me. Even the jumping spider holding the poor fly(?) the way we’d hold an ear of corn on the cob or barbecued rib, morphed into something more because it was impossible for me not to see a face in the spider with the close-set pop eyes and the line that could pass for a wide mouth,, a face that conveyed: “Yum! I’m ready to chow down and suck the vital juices out of this succulent morsel!” Though I knew it was no face at all.

    • Posted February 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      A wonderful memorial indeed.

  2. Charles Sawicki
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Sorry to hear that Andreas died so young. He took beautiful photos.

  3. Posted February 10, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Phenomenal! Of course. Thank you, Lou, for posting these. I think about Andreas frequently, and although I never knew him I still miss him.

  4. Posted February 10, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I should mention that Heinz Schneider of the University of Basel is maintaining Andreas’ amazing Flickr page:


    and a website in his honor:


    • GBJames
      Posted February 10, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      The photos at that link are stunning!

    • Posted February 10, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing this, Lou. It’s sad that such a talent has been snuffed out too early, but we’re fortunate that his legacy in pictures lives on.

  5. rickflick
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Just when you think there can’t be an insect any weirder, you come face to face with more weirder than your worst nightmare (or your fondest dream). These pictures and the diversity Andreas wanted the world to know about might help save the planet.

  6. darrelle
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    What wonderful photos.

    . . . endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful . . . ” indeed!

    Andreas has left a legacy that anyone should be proud of. So wonderfully capturing images that so ably demonstrate why Darwin was moved to write those words.

  7. Posted February 10, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I used to hate insects. And after years of viewing the amazing photos of them on WIET I have come to love them.

    If we expire on this planet, I can always think of a happy thought that ants or bees or beetles or moths will continue after we are gone continuing life’s journey in a journey that’s complex as our own.

  8. Dominic
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Happy & yet sad…

    Thanks for these…

  9. Mark R.
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Andreas was immensely talented. These are stunning in their beauty.

  10. Posted February 10, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Great shots of these extraordinary little beasts. I am concerned for their existence and read this recently.

    “”We reap what we sow,” said Jeff Harvey, ecologist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and lead author of the roadmap. “It’s a no-brainer that decline of insects will affect other species in the food chain… We can’t just put little bandages on this.”

    “Even as ecologists disagree on broad population trends, they are united on three points: the importance of insects to people; the rising threats they face; and the lack of action to preserve them.”

    Here is a link if you are interested.

    Andreas Kay work is not over, hopefully these photographs will labour on and instil some sense of awe and help preserve our insects.

  11. Geoff Toscano
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    These are some of the most stunning wildlife photos I’ve seen here. A worthy legacy though very sad.

  12. tjeales
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    very sad but absolutely awe inspiring photographs. Vale

  13. Posted February 10, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Whoa. What an eye. And truth leaves fiction way in the dust of imagination.

  14. Hempenstein
    Posted February 10, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I particularly like the red guy at the end. Well, looking at him in a pic, anyway. I might not like him so much in person, depending on what he eats.

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