Fear not arachnophobes (or maybe do?), you aren’t really looking at a gargantuan tarantula, you’re visiting the Department of Astonishing Optical illusions and this is the spectacular work of UK-based concept body artist Emma Fay. She used water-based paints to transform contortionists Lowri Thomas and Beth Sykes into awesomely lifelike animals. It took five hours to transform Thomas into a giant arachnid.

"First I ask the contortionist to get into the initial pose and mark out where they will be. The contortionists can only hold the pose for a maximum of five-seconds so I have to work quickly to get it right. I then keep painting and repositioning the models until they look like the real animal."

Head over to the Daily Mail for video footage of these amazing transformations as well as a wonderfully freaky glimpse of the giant spider in motion.

Visit Emma Fay’s website to check out more of her amazing artwork.

[via Design Taxi and Dailymail.co.uk]

These adorably strange little creatures that looks like a pieces of coral that just woke up are Pygmy seahorses, a species of seahorse that was completely unknown to science until the 1970s. Found in Southeast Asia in the Coral Triangle area, they’re incredibly small - measuring only two centimeters long - which ranks them among the smallest seahorses on earth. So between their itty-bittiess and their amazing ability to blend in amongst the the sea grasses, soft corals and gorgonians that they inhabit, it’s a wonder they were discovered at all.

Photos by Daniel Kwok, Jayvee Fernandez, Pacific Klaus, EOL, Graham Short, and Steven Childs respectively.

Click here to learn more about these awesome little fish and visit Ark in Space for additional images.

[via Kuriositas and Ark in Space]

From the Department of Awesome Animal Hybrids come Octopussy and Seahorse 2, two more wonderfully weird and tentacular paintings created by San Francisco-based artist Robert Bowen (previously featured here).

Both are currently available here as signed, limited edition prints.

[via OMG Posters!]

It’s Tentacle Day on Geyser of Awesome!

Zoology is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct.

Japanese artist Iori Tomita transforms the scientific technique of preserving and dyeing organisms into an awesome art form with a breathtaking series entitled New World Transparent Specimens.

Tomita’s creation process is both painstaking and time-consuming. After first preserving the animals in formaldehyde, he then removes the scales and skin. Next he soaks the creatures in a stain that dyes the cartilage blue. Tomita uses a digestive enzyme called trypsin, along with a host of other chemicals, to break down the proteins and muscles, halting the process just at the moment they become transparent. The bones are stained with red dye, and the specimen is preserved in a jar of glycerin. From start to finish, the entire production takes about five months to a year.

"People may look at my specimens as an academic material, a piece of art, or even an entrance to philosophy," says Tomita. "There is no limitation to how you interpret their meaning. I hope you will find my work as a ‘lens’ to project a new image, a new world that you’ve never seen before."

Visit My Modern Metropolis and Iori Tomita’s website to view more images of his awesome work.