Joris van Alphen Photography

Into the Wild

Cold-blooded Cannibals

Posted July 12, 2011. Filed under: Biology, Conservation, Multimedia, Nature, Photography. One comment.

Ibiza Wall Lizard (Podarcis pityusensis)

Ibiza wall lizard sitting on a deck of flowers. Formentera, Spain.

Think of a pollinator and the first thing that comes to mind is likely a honey bee. Maybe a hummingbird or a bat. Flowering plants rely on these animals for sexual reproduction, and in return the animals get nectar or fruits. For many years pollination was believed to be limited to insects, birds and mammals, but on small islands a very different kind of creature has stepped into the spotlight. Here, in order to survive the harsh conditions of island life, lizards have evolved the ability to drink nectar, and eat flowers and fruits.

This is the story Nate Dappen and I set out to tell when I visited him on the Mediterranean island of Formentera in May. (We met at the Nature Photography Summit earlier this year. He is one of the talented young photographers who received the NANPA College Photography Scholarship, and we got along so well that we decided to team up and make a film together.) We spent an intense week filming, talking and writing, and edited our film over the next weeks in between research and other activities. And our work has paid off: Cold-blooded Cannibals just won first prize at the NESCent Evolution Film Festival! It’s also featured at nrc.nl, guardian.co.uk and nature.com.

Here it is! Let us know what you think!

Cold-blooded Cannibals: Extreme Adaptations to Island Life

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