SCIENCE

These Awe-Inspiring Photos Show Just How Beautiful Insects Can Be

How the photographer captures these portraits is pretty impressive too.

02/05/2016 11:54 PM AEST | Updated 02/05/2016 11:55 PM AEST

The mundane beetle is incredibly magnificent up close.

That's evident in the latest work of British photographer Levon Biss, whose intricate images of insect specimens, from the tiger beetle to the marion flightless moth, will be on display in an exhibition called "Microsculpture" at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History from May 27 to Oct. 30.

"We are surrounded by these creatures every day, yet we cannot normally see them, so one of the aims of 'Microsculpture' is to make it more accessible and palatable for us to view these stunning creatures," Biss told The Huffington Post.

To create the photos, Biss meticulously captures thousands of close-up images of one insect with a microscope lens, and then stitches those individual images together to create one portrait. (Watch his process in the video above.)

Biss photographs the insect in approximately 30 different sections, depending on the specimen's size. 

Each final portrait -- which takes two to three weeks to complete -- is a composite of about 8,000 individual photographs, New Scientist reported.

"Photographing insects gives you constant surprises, you always see something new and beautiful," Biss said. "They are so varied that they provide an endless source of visual material to photograph, with an amazing array of colors, textures and shapes. It is only with the assistance of microscope magnification can we observer this microsculpture up close."

Scroll down to see 16 insects in striking high-resolution detail.

  • Orchid Cuckoo Bee
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Wasp Mimic Hoverfly
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Orchid Cuckoo Bee
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Tiger Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Flying Saucer Trench Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Splendid-necked Dung Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Tricoloured Jewel Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Short Nosed Weevil
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Oranged-netted Winged Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Marion Flightless Moth
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Mantis Fly
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Ground Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Green Tiger Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Darkling Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Branched Backed Treehopper
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
  • Tortoise Beetle
    <a href="http://microsculpture.net/">Levon Biss</a>
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