For National Insect Week, Hannah Brown shares some of her favourite insect images from Wellcome Images.
Robert Hooke’s drawing of the head and eyes of a drone-fly appeared in his book, ‘Micrographia’, the first book to illustrate insects and plants as seen through a microscope. It was published in 1665 and was the first major publication of the Royal Society, and the first scientific best-seller. Samuel Pepys called it “the most ingenious book that I ever read in my life”.
Images of insects capture the public’s imagination today as much as they did in the 17th Century. Here’s an image of the head of a House fly (Musca domestica). It is a photomacrograph, created using a modern imaging technique where multiple photographs are taken at different focus distances and then combined or stitched together. This produces a final image with greater sharpness and detail throughout. The image has a remarkably similar level of detail to Hooke’s hand drawn illustration, based on observations using a microscope.
And the fascination with insects continues – this image of a swallowtail butterfly was a winner at the Wellcome Image Awards 2016:
For ‘insectophiles’ everywhere, Hannah has also put together a Flickr gallery of insect images from our collections.