Sometimes, there just isn’t an adequate expression, and even wow doesn’t make the cut.
While traveling through the Amazon to study reptile and amphibian diversity with the Herpetology Division at the University of Michigan, photographer Mark Cowan happened upon a strange sight: a caiman whose head was nearly covered in butterflies. The phenomenon itself isn’t particularly unusual, salt is critical to the survival of many creatures like butterflies and bees who sometimes drink tears from reptiles in regions where the mineral is scarce. What made this sight so unusual was seeing the butterflies organize themselves into three different species groups atop the caiman’s head.
Uh, also, that side eye!
The British Wildlife Photography Awards just announced the 2016 winners of their annual competition in categories including Animal Behavior, Animal Portraits, Urban Wildlife, and an overall winner. The awards, established in 2009, aim to highlight photographers working in the UK, while also showcasing the biodiversity, species, and habitats found in Britain.
George Stoyle, overall winner of this year’s competition, found his subject off the Island of Hirta in Scotland. “I was working for Scottish Natural Heritage on a project to assess the current biological status of major sea caves around some of the UK’s most remote islands,” Stoyle told the BWPA. “At the end of one of the dives I was swimming back to the boat when I came face to ‘face’ with the largest jellyfish I’d ever encountered. As I approached cautiously I noticed a number of juvenile fish had taken refuge inside the stinging tentacles.”