These Exotic Animal Photos Are Literal Eye Candy

In David Liittschwager's photos, beauty isn't in the eye of the beholder—just in the eye.
January 19, 2016, 4:35pm
The eye of a Cuban rock iguana (Cyclura nubile nubila) offers a window into a fundamental truth of evolution: Form follows necessity. Four types of cone cells in this diurnal creature’s retina provide excellent daytime color vision. A simpler third eye on top of the lizard’s head senses light and helps regulate body temperature. © David Liittschwager /National Geographic

Science tells us that you can get kind of high by staring into another person's pupils for a long period of time, so use photographer David Liittschwager's new series on animal eyes responsibly. Shot for a feature by Ed Yong about Swedish scientist Dan-Eric Nilsson's research into the hidden ways animals gather optical information, the series highlights everything that links us to and separates us from the animal kingdom. Staring into the eye of a Cuban rock iguana or a Southern ground hornbill is a beautiful experience, but searching for the intelligence and kinship we see in homo sapiens can leave one ambivalent. As explored in the eye photographs of eye-based sci-fi film I Origins, Liittschwager presents beauty in terms of color, texture, and composition, but with the inevitable questioning of self identity that follows.

Check out a selection from the series below, and find the full set in the February issue of National Geographic magazine and on National Geographic's website.

Blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons). © David Liittschwager /National Geographic

Southern ground-hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri). 

© David Liittschwager /National Geographic

White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum).

© David Liittschwager /National Geographic

Gargoyle gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus).

© David Liittschwager /National Geographic

Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas).

© David Liittschwager /National Geographic

Rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus haematodus).

© David Liittschwager /National Geographic

Mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae).

© David Liittschwager /National Geographic

Human (Homo sapiens).

© David Liittschwager /National Geographic

National Geographic

Learn more about eyeballs in Ed Yong's National Geographic feature. See more of David Liittschwager's work on his website.


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