BMC Ecology and Evolution Image Competition 2022 Unveils Stunning Photos

But it’s the photo of a “zombie” fungus-infected fly that was crowned the overall winner in the wildlife magazine’s second annual contest.

The striking scene captured by Spanish photographer Roberto García-Roa, of the University of Valencia, was of the fruit-bearing spores of a parasitic fungus erupting from the body of a fly in the Tambopata National Reserve, Peru.

The image “depicts a conquest shaped by thousands of years of evolution,” García-Roa said in a press release.

Enchanting wildlife photos from the British Ecological Society's Photo Competition

“The spores of the so-called ‘zombie’ fungus have infiltrated the fly’s exoskeleton and mind, forcing it to migrate to a location more favorable for the growth of the fungus,” he said. He added that the fruiting bodies of the fungus will later be jettisoned to infect more victims.

Christy Anna Hipsley, a senior editor of the magazine, and one of the contest’s judges, compared the image to something seen in “science-fiction.”

“It illustrates both life and death at the same time, as the death of the fly gives life to the fungus,” she said.

Winners and runners-up were also selected in four categories: relationships in nature, research in action, endangered biodiversity and living up close.

One of the winning images was US photographer Brandon André Güell’s photo of gliding tree frog embryos developing in their eggs on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula during an explosive breeding event after a rainstorm.

The competition was created to give ecologists and evolutionary biologists the chance to creatively celebrate their research and to emphasize the need to protect nature, the organizers said.

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