A small greenish weevil with a long snout boring into a fig
The second place winner of the 2022 photo contest was Supratim Laha, a PhD student studying pollinators at the University of Calcutta. We asked about the story behind this amazing picture…
How did this image come about?
The story behind this image is another interesting part apart from the ecological fact. There is a large banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) on our university campus. One day I was just crossing the tree and suddenly a tiny insect fell on my shirt from the tree. I picked it up and noticed that it was a damn tiny weevil with a ridiculously long snout! I was astonished and started observing the tree closely. After a while, I found a lot of them walking on the tree; however, they were a bit sensitive and used to fly away if disturbed. So, I planned to photograph them the next day. I went to the campus early in the morning. With a lot of patience and slow movements, I searched for a few minutes and found a few individuals drilling through the immature fig fruits. I had my camera with an external flash and a homemade diffuser attached. When I looked at them through the viewfinder, it was an amazing sight! It was spinning its head sideways while drilling. I took a few shots and checked that out on the camera LCD screen, and it was done! The snout was so long that it had to lift its body first by stretching the legs and then it could properly place the tip of the snout on the ostiole. Altogether, it was a bizarre thing to me, I must say! Later on, I observed that they laid eggs inside the fig right after the drilling was done.

What do you like best about this image?
The best part I feel in this image is that we may think of a fig as insignificant or just a regular fruit, but for this tiny cute weevil this fig serves as a whole world wherein their babies will grow and come out successfully one day. The fig trees are often called the queen of the trees. It supports a great diversity of life alone! Conservation of fig trees should be one of the important criteria in land-use management plans. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to newcomers to insect photography?

From my little experience, I would suggest newcomers to wait and observe patiently during insect photography, so that they could predict the next move that the insects would make.

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