Macro Photographer Discovers New Species Called the Singapore Tiger

Singapore Tiger isopod
The Singapore Tiger isopod first documented by photographer Nicky Bay.

A macro photographer who was out capturing pictures of isopods with his friends in Singapore stumbled across an entirely new species with the orange and black striped pill bug now aptly named the Singapore Tiger.

Photographer Nicky Bay tells PetaPixel that he thinks of his work documenting bugs and insects as like collecting Pokémon. “Gotta catch them all!” He says.

Singapore Tiger isopod

Singapore Tiger isopod

The Singapore Tiger appears to be a previously undiscovered type of isopod, which may come as a surprise given its striking appearance.

“The exciting part is that this species has not been recorded anywhere before, even with just photos,” Bay says.

“Also, we know of several other species in the region that had been dubbed various ‘Tiger’ names but this species was the most beautiful, with the brightest orange and most distinct stripes, closest to that of a tiger.”

Singapore Tiger isopod

Bay humbly points out that when compared to the world of vertebrates, there are numerous invertebrates unknown to science so “finding a species new to science isn’t too uncommon.”

However, the distinct look of the Singapore Tiger isopod makes it stand out and a “rigorous review” is needed to officially confirm it.

“So far, isopodologists have not been able to match it with any existing genus in the family so it is quite safe to say that it is new,” explains Bay.

Singapore Tiger isopod

The isopodologist who ultimately publishes the paper describing the new species will get the honor of naming the new creature.

“Most new species are named based on how the species looks like, or based on defining traits of that species,” he says.

“Sometimes, it could be named after a person in honour of some particular achievements in the field.”

Singapore Tiger isopod

Macro Photographer

Bay has been shooting macro photos for 15 years and much like a Pokémon trainer, he attempts to document as many species as he can.

“I like to shoot all microfauna because they exist right under our noses and many of them look really bizarre,” he says. “Because of that, I like to call macro photography a window to an alien world.”

For his photos, Bay uses an entry-level Olympus OM-D EM10 Mark 4 with a Laowa 50mm 2:1 macro lens and a small flash.

“For macro photography, most macro lenses are sufficient. The most important aspect would be the light diffusion rather than the lens or camera body,” he adds.

More of Bay’s work can be found on his website and Flickr.

Image credits: All photos by Nicky Bay.