The Climbing Dead

Frank Deschandol's Image

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.

Behind the lens

Frank Deschandol

Frank Deschandol


Frank is a professional photographer who specialises in high-speed photography and diffused-lighting macro techniques using flashes and diffusers. His focus is in spectacular and little-known reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. His goal is to show the beauty of animals with simplicity - without significant post-processing and in their natural environment, reducing disturbance.

Image details

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • 100mm f2.8 lens
  • 1 sec at f5.6  •   ISO 100  •   Triopo tripod + Feisol head
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