Covers, Spreads and Inspiration

As a nature specialist photo and video library, Naturepl has much to offer: researchers and catalogers with backgrounds in biology and zoology, representing photographers and filmmakers (often scientists and naturalists themselves) who are passionate about the natural world. We know our content; we can suggest images, photographers and stories to illustrate a point, or even suggest book, magazine or calendar ideas.

Book Covers


It’s always fascinating to see which images get used on a book’s front cover. Is it a single image? A seamlessly combined montage? Pictures are often transformed for covers, particularly for fiction, so you never know where you might find the next one.


These pictures are just waiting to be used on the next best-seller…

*Research tip: type in ‘copy space’ to narrow down your search for images with (you guessed it!) copy space.


Perhaps for a wraparound?

*Click here for the full gallery.*



Chapter Openers & Spreads


They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that truth is stranger than fiction – some images combine both those things. Images often have intriguing stories behind them, or reveal something which we could only have imagined. These give us a greater appreciation of the efforts, expertise and knowledge that photographers have to get those extraordinary glimpses of faraway places and secretive creatures.


Giants from Faraway Places

The Kinabalu Giant red leech (Mimobdella buettikoferi) is endemic to Mount Kinabalu, Borneo. It is approximately 50cm long – here, it is feeding on another giant on Mount Kinabalu: the Kinabalu Giant earthworm (Pheretima darnleiensis).

The Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto) is the world’s largest bee, which is approximately 4 times larger than a European honey bee (Apis melifera). Photographer Clay Bolt had taken the first image of a living Wallace’s Giant Bee (Megachile pluto), the world’s largest bee, with its nest. This species nests in tree termite mounds. A lone female was discovered in January, 2019 in the North Moluccas, Indonesia. Interestingly, the species had been lost since 1981 and some feared it was extinct. Her large mandibles collect resin from trees for her to transport to line her nest, in order to protect it from termites and moisture. Discovered in 1858 by Alfred Russell Wallace, the world’s largest bee had eluded researchers for years.


Still on the subject of bees…

Hornets everywhere, beware the humble honeybee. Although the hornet in this image would have the clear advantage in a one-on-one duel, the bees have strength in numbers – and an ingenious strategy – to defeat the formidable invader. If a hornet advances too close, the defenders will pile on, preventing its escape. Swarming into a ball around the hornet, the bees vibrate their wing muscles to generate temperatures of about 46 degrees Centigrade. Surrounded by buzzing bodies, the hornet at the centre of the ball begins to overheat. The honeybees have a higher tolerance to heat, but at 46 degrees, the hornet is roasted alive. The defensive behaviour, however, comes at a cost to the bees. In 2018, Japanese researchers demonstrated that honeybees taking part in the heat trap strategy pay the price in the form of a reduced life expectancy. Sometimes the innermost bees in the ball perish, sacrificing themselves for the colony’s defence. Ingo Arndt, who  photographed a wild colony of honeybees in his garden over a period of six months, says he saw hornets and honeybees locked in combat as many as 10 times a day. At first, the bees seemed to be
losing the battle. “I thought, Oh God, if this keeps happening, they will kill my whole colony,” says Arndt. But then the tables turned, and the bees began gaining ground. The European hornet is known to attack honeybees but does not do so habitually. The bee-versus-hornet behaviour is far more common in related species in Asia, but has never been photographed in such detail – until now.


A Master of Disguise

Is it an ant? Close, but no; this is an ant-mimicking crab spider (Amyciaea sp.) from Buxa tiger reserve, India, raising its legs in warning to photographer Ripan Biswas. The spider lives among weaver ants: fierce predators that aggressively defend their nests from intruders – hence the need for a disguise. The spider is able to pull off this deception by mimicking the colouration and appearance of the ants. To aid the illusion, it even moves in an unusual way, waving its front legs near its head like antennae. At the same time, the spider casually preys upon its hosts. Biswas says the biggest challenge was to differentiate the spider from the ants. “When I moved in for a closer look, the arachnid stood its ground and started to threaten me by raising its legs!”


Surfing in the Philippines

Magnus Lundgren photographed these brown paper nautilus surfing on jellyfish in Balayan Bay, Luzon, Philippines. These nautilus are “surfing” specialists that hitches a ride on everything from swimming jellyfish to drifting plastic waste. The nautilus seems to understand that catching a ride on a jellyfish has certain advantages: an active form of protection and also as a weapon to sting small prey. The nautilus belongs to an order of open water octopuses. The females produce a paper-thin shell, which is used both to regulate buoyancy and as a brood chamber for the nautilus’ eggs. There is a large size difference between the sexes: the female (right) grows up to 12 times longer and 600 times heavier than the male (left). The small male only mates once, whereas the female can have offspring many times during her life.


Dressed in Black

A very rare melanistic Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) male, displaying to a potential partner. Atka Bay, Antarctica. May. Photographer Stefan Christmann recalled:

“Melanism is a very rare mutation in the animal kingdom – a genetic accident that causes the overproduction of the pigment melanin (the same pigment that causes humans to get suntans).
Melanistic animals develop dark fur, skin or feathers. Black panthers are a well-known example of melanism in big cats, but the mutation can occur in other animals too. While documenting an emperor penguin colony in Atka Bay, Antarctica, I was shocked to encounter this fully melanistic individual. I’d heard of albino penguins before (where the opposite mutation causes the complete absence of melanin, giving rise to an albino). This melanistic emperor was something even more unusual. It could very well be the only one of its kind alive today. Roughly speaking, emperor penguins are half white and half black, so finding a melanistic one in a colony of around 10,000 animals only happens by chance. I was lucky enough to have a total of three encounters with this beautiful individual when it was walking around the periphery of the colony. While it was unsuccessful in finding a mate for the season, the other birds were not really reacting to its presence in a negative way (as far as I could tell). This bird had clearly reached adulthood and hence must have successfully lived amongst the colony for many years.”


These are just a few examples of the incredible stories and facts behind our unique images – our Eyecatchers are perfect for chapter openers and spreads.


Research & Conservation Images


Scientists and researchers from across the globe, carrying out their research and collecting data in the field or in a lab. You can read about their research and conservation efforts from our stories blog or view more pictures from our gallery.


Book Ideas and Concepts


For a number of years now, we’ve been putting together book ideas and concepts using our extensive image collections, driven by our knowledge and our passion for the natural world. With unique stories and material from our photographers, we hope to offer something out of the ordinary which is not only visually stunning, but also inspiring and accessible to everyone.


Book Idea Focus:


Keystone Species highlights the vital part that particular species play in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. This book concept looks at the importance of these species and how they significantly shape the landscape and wildlife populations, even affecting areas and animals that at first glance has no connection to them. We look at the different roles that keystone species play and the cases in which the removal or decline of one species has led to the collapse of an ecosystem or habitat, such as the removal and subsequent re-introduction of grey wolves to Yellowstone National Park, and the surprisingly large role that a small animal (eg: bees) can play in maintaining a healthy environment which supports thousands of other species. Animals featured are wolves, bears, salmon, sea otters, beavers, prairie dogs, cassowaries, jaguars, elephants, the keystone plants featured are red mangrove trees, saguaro cacti and giant kelp.





Want to see more? View the full pdf


A number of our ideas have been developed and published, with several others currently being developed for publication (watch this space!). Our Adult & Reference Catalogue lists all our available concepts so have a browse, be inspired and get in touch if you would like to work with us on any of them.



Contact us if we can give you a hand finding your next cover, spread or book!