Nature | Images of the month

Cruising sharks, fiery dragons and invisible dust

July’s sharpest science shots, selected by Nature’s photo team.

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Dusky shark

James Lea

A blacktip reef shark (Carcharias melanopterus) cruises at dusk in this picture by James Lea. The image was shot at D’Arros Island in the Seychelles, where researchers have been tracking sharks to test the effectiveness of local marine protected areas.

Environmental Photographer of the Year

  1. This year’s Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year competition featured this remarkable reminder of what can happen when cities and the forces of nature collide. Taken by photojournalist S. L. Kumar Shanth in Chennai, India, it won the Atkins Built Environment Award.

    SL Kumar Shanth/EPOTY

  2. Like many bodies of water around the world, the salt lake Urmia in Iran is a shadow of its former self. The Forestry Commission England People, Nature and Economy Prize went to Pedram Yazdani for this shot.

    Pedram Yazdani/EPOTY

  3. This picture of a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) won Luke Massey the award for Young Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016. The birds were eliminated in Illinois in the 1960s, he says, but multiple pairs now nest in the state. This falcon selected a Chicago condo as its residence.

    Luke Massey/EPOTY

Juno in July


NASA’s Juno probe became the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter in more than two decades earlier this month. This shot is a composite of some of the images it took on 10 July as it orbited the gas giant.

Dragon down

John Kraus @johnkrausphotos

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket not only blasts off, it also blasts down as it lands for re-use. Photographer John Kraus’s image shows both burns from the 18 July launch and landing.

Mountain parrot

Tom Walker/BBC

Described by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as an “inquisitive alpine parrot”, the kea (Nestor notabilis) is at risk: just a few thousand are thought to be left in New Zealand. This image was captured by the BBC as part of its series New Zealand: Earth’s Mythical Island, which began this month.

Hatchet job

Adam P. Summers/Friday Harbor Labs/University of Washington

Because we at Nature never get tired of seeing what ‘Fish Guy’ and University of Washington biomechanist Adam Summers can do with a fish skeleton. This is a freshwater hatchetfish (Thoracocorax stellatu), dyed to reveal its internal structure.

Human sensor

Nick Harrison

The ‘human sensor’ costume designed by artist Kasia Molga reacts to local air pollution by changing colour. This month it went out and about to reflect local air quality in Manchester, UK, supported by the Invisible Dust science–art project.

Solar triumph

Aya Batrawy/AP Photo

The fuel-free plane Solar Impulse 2 finally completed its round-the-world trip this month, more than a year after it set off. It is shown here landing in Abu Dhabi at the end of its circumnavigation — the first by a solar-powered plane.

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