Microcosmos - the tiny creatures that surround us

in #photofeed3 years ago (edited)

The microscopic world of insects has always fascinated me. During my last 15 years of travelling, I have been lucky enough to come across some of the most unique creepy crawlers: tiny scorpions in Borneo, colourful beetles in Thailand, majestic blue morpho butterflies in Peru, giant cicadas in Hong Kong, and a plethora of scary tarantulas from Asia to South America.

A remarkable variety of insects inhabit this planet. In fact, more species of insects exist than all other animal species put together.

But you don't have to travel halfway across the world to observe them and marvel at their rituals - they are all around us. Here is a glimpse into some of the most common creatures which exist in many of our backyards, fields, parks and forests.

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Beetles are some of the friendliest and non aggressive creatures I have encountered - no matter the size. Thankfully, most of them move slowly enough to be picked up and observed.

This one is also known as the Coleoptera. Over 400 000 species have been found in a variety of different habitats on Earth, with new species still being discovered to this day.

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I found these wasps inside an old broken pot. They seemed half asleep which may explain how I was able to get so close without upsetting them.

Wasps play many ecological roles. Some are predators or pollinators, either feeding themselves or provisioning their nests.

FUN FACT: some wasps live together in a nest with an egg-laying queen and its workers (such as yellowjackets and hornets), yet the majority of wasp species are solitary, with each adult female living and breeding independently. Most of the solitary wasps lay their eggs on or in other insects, with the larvae eventually killing their host as they grow.

I hope you aren't reading this right before bedtime.

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Introducing... the 🔥FIREBUG🔥

These little guys are some of my favorites. They usually appear in the garden when the sun is out and enjoy hanging out in groups, sometimes unbelievably massive groups aggregating one on top of the other to, I presume, keep themselves even warmer, or mate.

The designs on their backs are identical within the species, and resemble that of a face (eyes, nose, mouth..) - another ingenious creation of evolution (along with its bright red color) to ward off any predators approaching a little too close.

I've placed the firebug next to an African mask to show you the resemblance. African mask designs often draw their inspiration directly from nature.


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Notice the little beaded legs and antennae on this one.

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Spiders have been a huge source of fear since I was a little girl, generating the occasional scream, alike many of you out there (that includes you boys😜). Even though I can contain myself when faced with one nowadays (sort of), they still send chills down my spine from time to time. I mean c'mon...4 eyes and 8 legs?! That's creepy.

Luckily the ones I photographed here are so small, I couldn't quite catch their tiny eyes. "These are just cute little spiders"... just keep telling yourself that, and you'll be fine😊

Although most spiders live for at most two years, bigger species such as tarantulas can live up to 25 years in captivity.
As many of you will already know, they may superficially look like insects, but they belong to another animal group called "arachnids".


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All known species of spiders are predators, mostly preying on insects and on other spiders, with some of the larger species also attacking birds and lizards. Nightmares here we come!

Spiders use a wide range of strategies to capture their prey: trapping it in their webs, lassoing it with sticky bolas, mimicking the prey to avoid detection, or running it down. I've experienced the last one with a spider living in my own home in Vietnam... the attacker was no bigger than the palm of my hand, but man was he feisty!

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...and you thought the movie "Arachnophobia" was scary. HA! Wait til I tell you about the baby tarantulas that eat their mothers... 😱

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Tiny aphids feasting on a small branch

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These giant mosquito looking insects are crane flies, familiarly called Daddy longlegs, seen here mating and thankfully harmless unlike their close cousins.

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And to finish, a sweet bumble bee helping to pollenize the colorful flowers we so love to see once Spring finally reappears after those long Winter months.

Insects have been on the Earth for hundreds of millions of years - far longer than we have - and may possess the ability to survive for many millions more.

(if we haven't already destroyed the Earth by then...)

Paying attention to these small creatures enables us to appreciate their diversity, understand their adaptation methods, study their behavior and realize the importance of their activities for environmental quality. Most, like the ones we have seen above, are inoffensive creatures smaller than our pinky nail, sometimes almost invisible to the naked eye, yet vital to our immense cycle of life.

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All photos in this post were taken by me. Extra info found on related insect Wikipedia pages.

Don't hesitate to leave comments, ask questions, and share ideas - I love to hear from all of you.

To view some of my previous posts, click on the links below:


Patterns and designs in nature - FLOWERS

Patterns and designs in nature - LEAVES

The story of an old well and its secrets - Part 2

The story of an old well and its secrets - Part 1



“Learning is not a race for information, it is a walk of discovery” - Jane Healy

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What amazing macrophotography skills @osm0sis! The photos are stunning!

The firebug and the African mask...so cool! And I'm with you and spiders; my brain says "grow up", but my body just won't cooperate. I'm terrified of them. How is it that some bugs are so cute, like ladybugs, caterpillars, even beetles I'm ok with, but spiders, yikes!

Let's hope our sweet little bees stay around as well as our planet! Many don't seem to get the important role that every little living creature plays in the ecosystem. Take one out and the repercussions are endless.

Thanks for an awesome post!

Thanks Lynn! I see the firebug and the mask were a big hit 😊 Glad to meet yet another fellow arachnophobe.
It's not looking too good for the bees to be honest... but that's a whole other post.

You are welcome :) I read through the comments and yes, the firebug stole the show :)

And the bees. Why aren't more people angry or incensed about the whole thing? Why isn't it a bigger deal? Just why? It makes me sad more than angry anymore. I'd love to see you tackle that post.

I fear my answer may be a little too pessimistic... which is why I tend to stick to bringing "positive" awareness to others in my blog, an attempt to showing a tiny glimpse of the beauty that surrounds us all in the hopes that a lightbulb turns on rather than pointing out our failures (which we are often well aware of already... there a few excellent scientific articles and documentaries on the disappearing bees ordeal)

Thanks Lynn. I hope you and Brian are keeping your spirits up. Much love to you 2.

What a great post! Those firebugs are incredible I can't believe the fine detail on their backs, really beautiful. It is really amazing how many insects there are. Even just the glimpse you have shared with us amazes me. Beautiful photography! Although, I probably will have nightmares tonight lol!!!

Haha oops... apologies for any future nightmares. Just tell yourself they're only cute little bugs, and put that on repeat. Or watch an episode of the Carebears right before you sleep 😉
Thank you dear.

quelle précision ! j'adore le masque avec le dos du scarabée... quelle trouvaille ! merci pour cette loupe fantastique : les plus petits peuvent apporter aussi les plus grands émerveillements !

Merci Tiloupsa. Je vois qu'on parle le même langage 😉

Often in our extensively busy life, we forget to see the small world all around us. We became unaware of our surroundings and thus our own existence become insignificant for us. We are the part of nature and so are these small creatures. They have their own small world which is fully integrated and interacts with our world. In fact both the worlds are inseparable. When we realize and see these creatures in their natural habitat, we come close to the nature and become a part of it.
Excellent photography and a great article!

Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment @akdx. I couldn't agree more.

You are welcome @osm0sis

impressive collection dear!! i'm amazed at all of your bug photos you have on hand :D last year i met one of the weirdest bugs that somehow i hadn't encountered in my 31 years... the assassin bug... it actually stung me (we spooked each other when i sat on it in my bed! -- how's that for horrible?) and some have compared it to being worse than being shot.
just regular homestead life for me ;p lol but i researched this bug and found out it's on the predator list and keeps the ecosystem in check and signifies a healthy ecosystem so okay okay... you're a "good bug" for the garden, but i'll keep my distance! this is really one crazy looking bug, so worth a google!

btw, i mentioned your excellent post quality in my post today!! always impressive! xx

Well, with a name like that...! How cool, I just looked it up. It is described as an "ambush predator". Looks like that little guy was plotting his attack all along, in your own bed!!!
Did the pain really feel like a gunshot?! I've stepped on a giant red ant while walking barefooted (yeah don't ask 😆) in the Malaysian jungle (or what's left of it) and it hurt like crazy. Unbelievably powerful venom for such a tiny little guy.
Needless to say, I put my shoes back on!

Thanks for mentioning me and so happy you enjoy reading my stuff. It takes me ages to put together so I truly appreciate the mentions and the love xxx

haha it did hurt really bad- haven't been shot by a gun so maybe?! lol it was one of those things where i didn't even see it happen as it was happening just saw the assassin after the fact and said holy fck! what the fck are you!? and then did my research. i had a huge welt (silver dollar size) for 2 weeks and a lot of pain as the poisons leeched. crazy stuff! your story sounds equally as crazy! holy cow! xxx <3 yeah i always love your posts!

What?! You live in the States and haven't been shot by a gun? (lol, that was my ignorant European dumba$$ comment 😜)

What a beautiful collage of insect imagery! Your macro photography is really stunning @osm0sis, thank you for sharing :)

Thank you @sndbox fam! Loving this new comment feature and the extra support it brings 😍

These are wonderful, @osm0sis. I especially love the mask/firebug. How cool. I think the biggest contribution insects make to our world, other than being just mysteriously stunning, are their influences on art, fashion, design, etcetera. Truly mother nature at her best ! Nice post !

So true Tracy. Don't get me started on insects/animals and their influence on Haute Couture... I've seen some of the most gorgeous (and sometimes quite strange) dresses with a direct inspiration from Mother Earth's creations. Very cool indeed!
Thanks for dropping by 😊

wow would love a post on that! the african mask and firebug were really a stunning comparison!!

Actually that might be a really cool post to make. Might have to take a trip down to the zoo to get my own photos (which is not one of my favourite places), but I'll look into it.

hear ya on the zoo part, but if you do get a chance... what a kick ass post!!

Thank you for a very informative post. The firebug's resemblance of a mask is amazing. One would never have thought that our African masks were actually inspired by a bug!

I think they are mainly inspired from animals (amongst many other things) rather than insects - a sort of representation of the spirit of the animals if you will (I'm sure you know much more about this than i do 😉). Can't be too sure about the firebug being a direct inspiration itself, but it sure looked like it when I placed this mask next to it.

Thank you Johann, glad you liked the post.

excellent picture I liked a lot also that has an excellent content greetings

It is a very entertaining post and also the photos you upload are great. I entertained myself a lot by reading all the information contained in your post. Very good, I congratulate you

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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I'm afraid to hear the buzzing of bees!, My body is getting sick!, I do not know what that phobia is called, if it is, Greetings, Good Post.

Some strange allergies perhaps...
Thanks @criptosonido.

wow, photography is very beautiful to look at, I really like about your post, good luck always ya @osm0sis

Tu devrais aller voir le challenge macro de @derangedvisions d'avant hier.

I was just thinking of you the other day and thought, "have I somehow lost the trail of @osm0sis? and I see you haven't posted in awhile. I hope you are fine and just enjoying some 'tech free' time.

Thanks for checking up on me Donna. I've been going tech free for a few weeks now. Lack of inspiration, missing the outside world, and just plain sick of staring at screens to put it bluntly.
But still here curating and checking out your posts every once in a while.
Hope you are doing well and enjoying a sunny week 😊