It's showtime! The dancing praying mantis and
his insect friends as you've never seen them before
Looking like a Broadway diva with its
arms waving in the air, this praying mantis is certainly not shy of the
pose is one of a number of
that show mantids and other insects from a unique perspective as they
are captured in extreme close-up.
Biochemist and photographer Igor
Siwanowicz has spent the last seven years carefully acquiring, breeding
and capturing bizarre and visually stunning images of his alien
Taken in a home studio in Munich, Germany,
studies the habits and physiology of these compelling
creatures, which gives him the edge when it comes to producing
It's showtime: A large African praying mantis
shows he's not shy as he displays for the camera
A large African species of a praying mantis
appear to gossip in the studio in Munich, Germany
Stag beetles grapple with one another as they
A giant green pill millipede curls up in a ball
while having its picture taken
One shot shows two male praying
mantis as they show off their dazzling displays of brightly coloured
wings, which are usually deployed to scare away predators.
Biochemist and photographer Igor Siwanowicz
In a second quirky picture two large
African praying mantis who both appear to be casually gossiping to each
other. According to Igor the clever mantis do seem to communicate
through gesturing to each other.
'I have always been fascinated by insects even from childhood,'
explained the 34-year-old Polish national.
'You could say that I am sort of a public
relations representative in service of creepy-crawlies.
'I think mantids are totally slick and sexy,
and have style. I take weird and bizarre as positive adjectives in
favourite models are praying mantids and other insects like reptiles
and amphibians usually meet fit the bill.'
Apart from the standard challenges
presented by close up and macro photography in the form of camera shake,
operating with a limited depth of field and ensuring enough light is
available, Igor must also contend with is the temperament of his
'Animals are very
unpredictable and uncooperative, and there is almost no way to force
them into collaboration,' he said.
'One can use tricks though - moths and butterflies are very
docile freshly after hatching. 'Most otherwise fidgety insects can be
approached early in the morning, when the temperature is low and their
metabolism hasn't kicked in yet.'
Igor cites his main influence as the works of
the designer of the monster from the Alien films, HR Giger who was
obsessed with the paradox of turning the human form into an alien one.
He has decided to
release a book in the near future devoted entirely to praying mantids.
A crested gecko and a Brahmin moth-caterpillar
look like creatures from a horror film
An African species of Flower Praying Mantis,
left and a large species of a praying mantis display their finery
Like a bizarre species of butterfly a pair of a
large praying mantids show their colours
Red-eyed tree frogs display their agility as
they clamber up vines in the photographer's home