Photographer and author Colin Hutton has a penchant for insects. He's photographed scores of them since 2010 in his distinctive macro style. Many of the portraits are collected in his new book, Bugs In Close-Up.
He's drawn to bugs for their appearance, their unique behaviors and their interesting life cycles, Hutton explains. And yet, in general, these creatures are underappreciated:
Bugs get a bad rap. Even the word ‘bug’ has been co-opted to describe the act of being unwanted and
bothersome. Millions of insects are squashed under shoes and rolled-up newspapers every day. A bounty of
sprays, poisons, and traps exist for the sole purpose of killing bugs. An entire industry is devoted to removing
bugs from homes and yards. Countless hours and dollars are committed to the pursuit of ridding our lives of
bugs. And yet… bugs are awesome.
Here, some of our favorites from his new collection.
With their tough exoskeleton, and no obvious
sign of wings, beetles don’t look like they’re even
capable of flight.
Unlike the many insects whose
wings are always exposed, beetles keep their flying
wings safely tucked under their protective forewings
when not in flight. When beetles take flight, the
forewings lift and the flying wings unfurl.
Wasps come in many different styles, and
this chalcidid wasp is one of the more sporty
Though they may look fierce, these
wasps are completely harmless to people.
Unlike their stinging cousins, chalcidid wasps are
parasitic and use their stingers to plant eggs in
host species rather than delivering a painful dose
Many parasitic wasps are beneficial to
humans because they help control populations
of pest insects.
Despite the common perception that bees are social
insects living in large colonies, most bee species are
Many solitary bees, such as this long-horned
bee, can be found clinging to plant stems during the
night and early morning as they sleep. They don’t
use their legs, but rather grip a perch with their
mandibles to remain in place as they sleep.
These wasps lay their eggs in the nests of other
wasps or bees. When the larvae hatch, they proceed
to eat the host species’ eggs and any food provided
by the parents.
They lack the ability to sting, but if
captured by a predator, or a curious photographer,
they tuck in their legs and roll into a ball.