The Climbing Dead
When Frank spotted this bizarre-looking weevil one night, he knew it would still be there in the morning. Though clinging to a fern stem, the beetle was dead. It had been infected and killed by a parasitic fungus. The next day, Frank isolated the colourful stalks of the fungus against a soft background, savouring the symmetry of the composition.
Many fungi are known to infect insects such as ants and beetles. In some cases the fungus releases chemicals that affect the host’s behaviour. The fungus uses this to its advantage. It might influence its host to climb high up on a branch so that when it dies and millions of spores are released, the fungus has a greater chance of spreading and infecting more hosts.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 100mm f2.8 lens; 1 sec at f5.6; ISO 100; Triopo tripod + Feisol head
Madre Selva Biological Station, near Iquitos, Peru
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Frank Deschandol, France
Enraptured by nature since childhood, Frank started to take photographs in 1994 and became a professional wildlife photographer a few years later. At the time he was mainly interested in birds, but now he focuses on reptiles, amphibians and insects. He also creates his own shooting systems, such as flash rigs and fast shutter, for high-speed flash photography.