Stunning Weevil Eye Wins Forty-Fourth Annual Nikon Small World Competition

Date : 10/11/2018 @ 3:00PM
Source : GlobeNewswire Inc.

Stunning Weevil Eye Wins Forty-Fourth Annual Nikon Small World Competition

Nikon Instruments Inc. today announced the winners of the forty-fourth annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. First place was awarded to Emirati photographer Yousef Al Habshi, who sees the eyes as the windows to stunning insect artwork and research. The 2018 winning image captures part of the compound eyes and surrounding greenish scales of an Asian Red Palm weevil. This type of Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer beetle is typically less than 11 mm (0.43 in) in size and is found in the Philippines.

1st Place: Yousef Al Habshi | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | Eye of a Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer beetle | Reflected Light20x
Nikon Small World

Al Habshi captured the image using a reflected light technique and stacking of hundreds of images. The winning image is a compilation of more than 128 micrographs. According to Al Habshi, “the main challenge was to show the black body against the black background without overexposing the skin and scales.” He was able to strike the perfect balance by controlling the background distance from the subject and using deft lighting and sample positioning. 

“Because of the variety of coloring and the lines that display in the eyes of insects, I feel like I’m photographing a collection of jewelry,” said Al Habshi. “Not all people appreciate small species, particularly insects. Through photomicrography we can find a whole new, beautiful world which hasn’t been seen before. It’s like discovering what lies under the Ocean’s surface.”  

While beautiful to photograph, weevils present infestation problems world-wide and often destroy crops. Al Habshi’s photography has helped advance the work of his partner, Professor Claude Desplan, of New York University Abu Dhabi. His lab and Al Habshi’s photos have contributed a better understanding of the Red Palm Weevil and how to better control the population.

“The Nikon Small World competition is now in its 44th year, and every year we continue to be astounded by the winning images,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. “Imaging and microscope technologies continue to develop and evolve to allow artists and scientists to capture scientific moments with remarkable clarity. Our first place this year illustrates that fact beautifully.”

Second place was awarded to Rogelio Moreno for his colorful photo of a Fern sorus, a clustered structure that produces and contains spores. The image was produced using image stacking and autoflorecence, which requires hitting the sorus with ultraviolet light. Each color represents a different maturity stage of each sporangium inside the sorus.

Saulius Gugis captured third place for his adorable spittlebug photo, captured using focus-stacking. This spittlebug can be seen in the process of making his “bubble house.” Spittlebugs produce the foam substance to hide from predators, insulate themselves from temperature fluctuations and to stay moist.

In addition to the top three winners, Nikon Small World recognized an additional 92 photos out over almost 2,500 entries from scientists and artists in 89 countries.

The 2018 judging panel included:

  • Dr. Joseph Fetcho: Professor, Associate Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University.
  • Dr. Tristan Ursell: Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and at the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon.
  • Adam Dunnakey: Broadcast journalist at CNN International.
  • Jacob Templin: Senior video producer at Quartz.
  • Eric Clark (Moderator): Research Coordinator and Applications Developer at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

For additional information, please visit, or follow the conversation on Facebook, Twitter @NikonSmallWorld and Instagram @NikonInstruments.

2018 NIKON SMALL WORLD WINNERSThe following are the Top 20 and Honorable Mentions for Nikon Small World 2018. The full gallery of winning images, along with Images of Distinction, can be viewed at  

1st PlaceYousef Al HabshiAbu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesEye of a Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer beetleReflected Light20x (objective lens magnification)

2nd Place Rogelio MorenoPanama, PanamaFern sorus (structures producing and containing spores)Autofluorescence10x (objective lens magnification)

3rd PlaceSaulius GugisNaperville, Illinois, USASpittlebug nymph in its bubble houseFocus Stacking5x (objective lens magnification)

4th PlaceCan Tunçerİzmir, TurkeyPeacock feather sectionFocus Stacking5x (objective lens magnification)

5th PlaceDr. Tessa MontagueHarvard University, Department of Molecular and Cellular BiologyCambridge, Massachusetts, USAParasteatoda tepidariorum (spider embryo) stained for embryo surface (pink), nuclei (blue) and microtubules (green)Confocal20x (objective lens magnification)

6th Place Hanen KhabouVision Institute, Department of TherapeuticsParis, France Primate foveola (central region of the retina)Fluorescence40x (objective lens magnification)

7th PlaceNorm BarkerJohns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pathology & Art as Applied to MedicineBaltimore, Maryland, USAHuman tear dropDarkfield 5x (objective lens magnification)

8th Place Pia Scanlon Government of Western Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development South Perth, Western Australia, Australia Portrait of Sternochetus mangiferae (mango seed weevil) Stereomicroscopy, Image Stacking 1x (objective lens magnification)

9th PlaceDr. Haris AntonopoulosAthens, GreeceSecurity hologramDarkfield Epi-illumination10x (objective lens magnification)

10th PlaceDr. Csaba Pintér University of Pannonia, Georgikon Faculty, Department of Plant Protection Keszthely, Hungary Stalks with pollen grainsFocus Stacking3x (objective lens magnification)

11th Place Nilay Taneja & Dr. Dylan Burnette Vanderbilt University, Department of Cell and Developmental BiologyNashville, Tennessee, USAHuman fibroblast undergoing cell division, showing actin (gray), myosin II (green) and DNA (magenta)Structured Illumination Microscopy60x (objective lens magnification)

12th PlaceLuciano Andres RichinoPunto NEF PhotographyRamos Mejia, Buenos Aires Province, ArgentinaUrania ripheus (butterfly) wing scalesImage Stacking20x (objective lens magnification)

13th PlaceCharles KrebsCharles Krebs PhotographyIssaquah, Washington, USABalanus glandula (acorn barnacle)Autofluorescence5x (objective lens magnification)

14th PlaceAndrew Moore & Dr. Erika HolzbaurUniversity of Pennsylvania, Department of PhysiologyPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USAAfrican green monkey cell (COS-7) stained for actin and microtubulesStimulated Emission Depletion (STED) Microscopy100x (objective lens magnification)

15th PlaceAntoine Franck CIRAD - Agricultural Research for DevelopmentSaint Pierre, Réunion, Reunion IslandVarroa destructor (mite) on the back of Apis mellifera (honeybee)Focus Stacking1x (objective lens magnification)

16th PlaceDr. Amanda D. Phillips YzaguirreSalk Institute for Biological StudiesLa Jolla, California, USAMouse oviduct vasculatureConfocal10x (objective lens magnification)

17th PlaceCaleb DawsonThe Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Department of Stem Cells and CancerMelbourne, AustraliaBreast tissue in lactation: Milk filled spheres (red) surrounded by tiny muscle cells that squeeze out milk (yellow) and immune cells that monitor for infection (blue)3D Confocal Microscopy63x (objective lens magnification)

18th PlaceJustin ZollJustin Zoll PhotographyIthaca, New York, USAAmino acid crystals (L-glutamine and beta-alanine)Polarized Light, Image Tiling4x (objective lens magnification)

19th PlacePierre AnquetLa Tour-du-Crieu, Ariège, FranceVespa velutina (Asian hornet) with venom on its stingerReflected Light, Focus Stacking6.3x (objective lens magnification)

20th PlaceDr. Nicolás Cuenca & Isabel Ortuño-LizaránUniversity of Alicante, Department of Physiology, Genetics and MicrobiologySan Vicente del Raspeig, Alicante, SpainHuman retinaImmunocytochemistry and Confocal Microscopy40x (objective lens magnification)

Honorable Mentions

Anne AlgarHounslow, United KingdomDaphnia (water flea) with eggsDarkfield with Polarizing Filters and Waveplate, and Image Stacking4x (objective lens magnification)

Dr. Michael BoyleSmithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Marine StationFort Pierce, Florida, USAPolytrochus larva of a pelagic gymnosome pteropod with externalized cup-shaped mouthparts used for feeding (actin in red; nuclei in grayscale; and serotonin-positive elements in green)Confocal10x (objective lens magnification)

Dr. Emilio Carabajal MárquezMadrid, SpainEmmonsite (iron tellurite mineral)Focus Stacking20x (objective lens magnification)

Tracy DebenportSomerville, Massachusetts, USAPenicillium vulpinum (mold)Stereomicroscopy2x (objective lens magnification)

Sergii DymchenkoSDym PhotographyBellevue, Washington, USAShell of a Litchi chinensis (lychee)Reflected Light, Transmitted Light, Focus Stacking2x (objective lens magnification)

Charles KrebsCharles Krebs PhotographyIssaquah, Washington, USACharaxes sp. (emperor butterfly) wingReflected Light, Image Stacking10x (objective lens magnification)

Anatoly MikhaltsovChildren’s Ecological and Biological CenterOmsk, Russian FederationPinus heldreichii (Bosnian pine tree) cross sectionBrightfield, Image Tiling and Stacking25x (objective lens magnification)

Jacek MyslowskiWloclawek, PolandMossesAutofluorescence6.3x (objective lens magnification)

Walter PiorkowskiSouth Beloit, Illinois, USABubbles and single cloth fiber (red) on a rock surfaceReflected Light, Image Stacking10x (objective lens magnification)

Teresa ZgodaCampbell Hall, New York, USAChameleon embryo Stereomicroscopy, Autofluorescence5x (objective lens magnification)

About Nikon Small World Photomicrography CompetitionThe Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography or video. Participants may upload digital images and videos directly at For additional information, contact Nikon Small World, Nikon Instruments Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747, USA or phone (631) 547-8569. Entry forms for Nikon’s 2019 Small World and Small World in Motion Competitions are available at

About Nikon Instruments Inc.Nikon Instruments Inc. is a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical applications. Nikon provides complete optical systems that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Cutting-edge instruments include microscopes, digital imaging products and software. Nikon Instruments is one of the microscopy and digital imaging arms of Nikon Inc., the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology. For more information, visit Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

Media ContactKristina

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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