This remarkable photograph shows a sweat bee covered in tiny grains of pollen. It is the work of Sam Droege, head of the US Geological Survey Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Programme. Since 2014 he and his colleagues at the USGS Inventory and Monitoring Lab have been attempting to catalogue the 4,000 different species of bees to be found in the United States.

It is quite an undertaking. This image itself is in fact a seamless merging of a number of different micro shots of the bee in question. It is taken from a new book Animal: Exploring the Zoological World, published by Phaidon. It's a collection of more than 300 images of biodiversity as chosen by an international panel of zoologists.

It is also an image that reminds us how vital bees are to the future of the planet. After all, they carry out some 80 per cent of all pollination in the world. And so, the fact that bee numbers are declining should be something that worries us all.

Animal: Exploring the Zoological World, is published by Phaidon, £39.95. © USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab