buggy barbarity
September 8, 2008 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Violent death in the insect world - grisly yet compelling macro photographs of bug-against-bug carnage.
posted by madamjujujive (22 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Amazing photos, but the accompanying text is, um, a little off.
posted by nasreddin at 7:07 AM on September 8, 2008

What, you don't like "inspirational" death quotes mixed with your bugicide? I'll be honest, I barely paid attention to the copy beyond trying to identify a few of the subjects.

I meant to note that the credits under each photo link back to flickr galleries, some of which have wonderful insect macro galleries, if you like exploring that kind of thing.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:15 AM on September 8, 2008

Cool pics....made me itchy.
posted by Shfishp at 7:19 AM on September 8, 2008

Thanks for this little nightmare.

"If God lived on earth, people would break his windows."

---Jewish proverb
posted by longsleeves at 7:24 AM on September 8, 2008

See also: Sam Taylor-Wood's A Little Death.
posted by plexi at 7:42 AM on September 8, 2008 [5 favorites]

nasreddin writes "Amazing photos, but the accompanying text is, um, a little off."

Just came in here to say the same thing. The "famous quotes on death" were annoying, pretentious, -- and worst, merely filler.
posted by orthogonality at 7:45 AM on September 8, 2008

Amazing photos, but the accompanying text is, um, a little off.

I'll confess to only reading the quotations, some of which were marvelous, and I rather liked the way they interfaced with the photos, somehow. The various thoughtful and lofty human musings, juxtaposed with images of creatures so utterly removed from human concerns...

Nice post, madamjujujive.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:49 AM on September 8, 2008

The live action version of the above are the gruesome Gladiator Bugs.
NSFW?? I'm not sure, probably if you're working at PETA.
posted by bodywithoutorgans at 7:55 AM on September 8, 2008

Yowzah, plexi, that is both utterly fascinating and deeply disturbing. I wonder how long that took to occur? The peach fared pretty well.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:57 AM on September 8, 2008

The other day I saw at least a two inch long (!) hornet take down a screaming cicada. I wish I had my camera.
posted by starman at 8:27 AM on September 8, 2008

indeed, madam - what's with that peach!?
posted by progosk at 8:33 AM on September 8, 2008

I felt pretty bad for that catepillar that got injected with wasp eggs and was then forced to continue life with a dozen or so wasp pupae hanging from its body. Wasps truly are the assholes of the insect world.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:49 AM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

See also: Sam Taylor-Wood's A Little Death .

That was really neat, and quite beautiful at times. What caused all the staining on the wall? It sort of looked like the dark stuff (fluid? flies?) ran upwards, and then partly retracted later.

And yeah, the photos of the bugs were great, but the captions were really bad. I would have preferred simple descriptive text explaining who was eating whom; I can supply the deep meaning on my own if I want to.
posted by Forktine at 8:52 AM on September 8, 2008

Also check out "Safari", by Catherine Chalmers.
posted by endquote at 10:58 AM on September 8, 2008

The photographs are great, but the science is a bit off in spots. As far as I know, spiders can't eat butterfly wings, at least not the chitinous parts (A Cunning Disguise): they don't have jaws for chewing. Secondly (The Last Leap), those are most definitely not spiderlings eating the frog's corpse. Those are ants.

There are other mistakes, but those are the two that bothered me the most.
posted by malaprohibita at 12:53 PM on September 8, 2008

I imagine that photos of interspecies bug sex would look very much the same as this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:06 PM on September 8, 2008

grisly yet compelling

hmm. See, that combo really is compelling. Thanks to this post I felt inclined to contemplate and wonder why. I was feeling a bit guilty feeling curious about the Ricardo Lopez death video. Maybe it's the fascination of death, the scary-fascinating reality, inevitability of it?

And there is something exquisitely beautiful about bug macros, those colors, the incredible detail.

Adding to the eewww, squick factor of insect eating insect, this video is repulsively interesting: an enormous centipede, (can hardly type that word without getting goosebumps and feeling nausea), the longest in the world, devouring its own recently shed exoskeleton! This centipede can grow over a foot in length and can feed on creatures as large as an iguana.

And, omg, plexi, that Sam Taylor-Wood's A Little Death is an incredible meditation on impermanence. It's got that old Dutch Master lighting, the still life that is so not still, all too wriggly. ugh but it's also so beautiful.
posted by nickyskye at 1:26 PM on September 8, 2008

drat, that Gladiator Bug site crashed my browser before I could post the grisly yet compelling link to the cannibal centipede.

Now, curious about the psychology of grisly-yet-compelling.

The octopus makes me feel in a similar way. But I have a tender spot in my heart for those elegantly ugly octopi.

Years ago I was picking flowers for pressing and came across a whole bunch of buttercups and daisies with spiders in them the same buttery golden yellow as the flower. It was such an ingenious disguise. They were waiting for butterflies and flies that they dined on. Like this.
posted by nickyskye at 1:47 PM on September 8, 2008

Ha - I came in with a link to Catherine Chalmers but for Food Chain!
posted by plinth at 6:03 PM on September 8, 2008

OK, nicky - a mammal eating bug is just too gross. Centipedes squick me out big time. I am glad the onesthat periodically show up in my kitchen don't grow that big. But you are redeemed with the cool yellow bugs links.

endquote and plinth - love the Chalmers stuff, suitably creepy.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:23 AM on September 9, 2008

omg, mjj, I never knew there was a specific name for them, "house centipedes" (high res macros, open at your ability to handle squick). It's comforting to know more about them.

aww, look at the intent face on this dragonfly. I love bug macros, even though they scare me.
posted by nickyskye at 8:11 AM on September 9, 2008

Oh, hey, thanks for reminding me I need to feed my praying mantis today! Knew I was forgetting something.
posted by bettafish at 8:16 AM on September 9, 2008

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