WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Finalist 2017

Behaviour: Invertebrates

Lucas Bustamante, Ecuador

Death by a thousand bites

Lucas encountered this cicada on a night hike in the Amazon rainforest, but so did an army of ants. ‘This one was still so soft and pale,’ recalls Lucas. ‘It moved only its legs, slowly, in a vain effort to escape.’ Amid the chaos of ants racing over their helpless victim, Lucas composed his shot to tell the dramatic story.

Cicadas spend most of their lives underground – up to 17 years for some species. The nymphs emerge under cover of darkness and are vulnerable as they moult one last time to become adults. These lucky ants have arrived at just the right time – the big-headed soldiers working with the smaller workers to disassemble the cicada alive.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 7D Mark II; 100mm f2.8 lens; 1/250 sec at f20; ISO 100; Speedlite flash; LumiQuest SoftBox.

Yasuní National Park, Ecuador: latitude -1.100945, longitude -75.80696 Yasuní National Park, Ecuador: latitude -1.100945, longitude -75.80696

Yasuní National Park, Ecuador

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Lucas Bustamante

Lucas Bustamante, Ecuador

Lucas is the photographic director of Tropical Herping, an institution he co-founded in 2009 to preserve tropical reptiles and amphibians through tourism, photography, education and research. His work has been featured in National Geographic magazine and he is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.