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These stunning close-up photos offer a window onto the world of bees

FEW insects (or even animals) hold quite as much sway on the planet as bees. As pollinators that flock from flower to flower, crop to crop, they keep the world’s flora and biodiversity thriving. And yet, thanks to a myriad of deadly factors, such as pesticides, habitat destruction and climate change, thousands of species are teetering on the brink.

A new exhibition all about these vital creatures, Bees: A story of survival, provides an immersive window on their world, from the intricate anatomy of a single bee to the structure of entire colonies. In collaboration with artist Wolfgang Buttress, it uses sound, sculpture and light, blending art and technology to show visitors the lives of bees around the world, illuminating just how devastating it would be to lose them.

The main image is of a bee from the genus Euglossa, also known as orchid bees. These are a key orchid pollinator in North and South America (although they also flock to rotting fruit, fungi and even faeces). The males, one of which is shown here, use the odours from the chemicals they collect from pollination to court females – the more complex the odour, the greater the attraction.

The next images show (top to bottom): a violet carpenter bee (Xylocopa violacea), recognisable through its purple-sheened wings and body, and one of the largest bees in Europe; a bee from the genus Nomioides, which is one of the smallest types of bee; and an African carpenter bee (Xylocopa inconstans).

The exhibition will be at the World Museum in Liverpool, UK, until 5 May 2025.

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