Wildlife Photographer of the Yr: Frenzied bee ball wins prime prize

Cactus bees


Image source, Karine Aigner/WPY
Image caption,

The big buzz: Karine Aigner’s winning picture came at the end of several weeks of shooting

It’s a manic moment as male cactus bees envelop a single female. But who in this amorous scrum will emerge lucky and get to mate with her?

This remarkable picture, captured by Karine Aigner, is the grand title winner in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

On one level it’s quite a technical image. It required the use of a macro probe lens to get in close to the very heart of the action.

“I had to spend quite a bit of time on my belly in the dirt,” Karine joked.

The American is only the fifth woman to win the top prize in the 58-year history of WPY, as the competition is often called.

“It wasn’t something I went looking for. I’ve been working on a ranch in South Texas for years, and I just happened on the location. I saw all these little ‘volcanoes’ in the ground – the individual burrows dug…