The results from our 2019 Animal Behaviour photo contest.

    The Dance of The Fireflies

    Every year between the months of June and August, in the forests of the states of Puebla, México, Michoacán and Tlaxcala, in Mexico, one of the greatest spectacles of nature takes place - the sighting and the mating of the fireflies. Mexico has more than 93 registered species of fireflies with a significant number of them endemic to the area. The joint work of researchers, institutions, associations, land owners, local and federal authorities has created a network of sanctuaries and sighting centres that seek to preserve and investigate the different species found in the country. Now these sanctuaries offer tourists the opportunity to witness a magical spectacle that can only be admired in few parts of the world. The environment lights up at nightfall thanks to the characteristic bio-luminescence of the species. Millions of "lampyridaes", also called "bugs of light", dance among the undergrowth, with the trunks and the meadows giving way to intermittent flashes of hypnotic neon yellow. The fireflies take advantage of the humidity acquired by the bark of the trees and bushes during the rainy season to deposit their eggs. Only males can fly because females have very small wings that do not allow them to lift their weight. The males fly in a synchronised movement, looking to seduce the female that is on the floor or in the bushes. Rainfall, forested areas with high humidity and the absence of factors such as noise, light and pollution are key for the correct development of the species and therefore for its conservation.

  • Runner-Up: Vanessa Mignon

    This photo shows what is known as socialisation, where sperm whales get together, gently rub against each other, and even softly bite each other. Picture taken under permit.

  • Runner-Up: Geza Attila Szabo
    Fight 2

    The photo was taken in the Hortobágy National Park, Hungary. A great number of white-tailed eagles fly here from Russia and Scandinavia to spend winter in this flat area. Sometimes you can see as many as 20 birds at the same time. This high number also inevitably leads to conflicts, as captured in this photo.

Congratulations to the featured photographers and a big thank you to all who entered! Thank you also to the generous support of our contest sponsors: