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

MELVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2018 — 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.

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.”


Subscribe to the Global Banking & Finance Review Newsletter for FREE
Get Access to Exclusive Reports to Save Time & Money

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. We Will Not Spam, Rent, or Sell Your Information.
All emails include an unsubscribe link. You may opt-out at any time. See our privacy policy.

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 WINNERS The 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 Place Yousef Al Habshi Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Eye of a Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer beetle Reflected Light 20x (objective lens magnification)

2nd Place Rogelio Moreno Panama, Panama Fern sorus (structures producing and containing spores) Autofluorescence 10x (objective lens magnification)

3rd Place Saulius Gugis Naperville, Illinois, USA Spittlebug nymph in its bubble house Focus Stacking 5x (objective lens magnification)

4th Place Can Tunçer İzmir, Turkey Peacock feather section Focus Stacking 5x (objective lens magnification)

5th Place Dr. Tessa Montague Harvard University, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA Parasteatoda tepidariorum (spider embryo) stained for embryo surface (pink), nuclei (blue) and microtubules (green) Confocal 20x (objective lens magnification)

6th Place Hanen Khabou Vision Institute, Department of Therapeutics Paris, France Primate foveola (central region of the retina) Fluorescence 40x (objective lens magnification)

7th Place Norm Barker Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pathology & Art as Applied to Medicine Baltimore, Maryland, USA Human tear drop Darkfield 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 Place Dr. Haris Antonopoulos Athens, Greece Security hologram Darkfield Epi-illumination 10x (objective lens magnification)

10th Place Dr. Csaba Pintér University of Pannonia, Georgikon Faculty, Department of Plant Protection Keszthely, Hungary Stalks with pollen grains Focus Stacking 3x (objective lens magnification)

11th Place Nilay Taneja & Dr. Dylan Burnette Vanderbilt University, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology Nashville, Tennessee, USA Human fibroblast undergoing cell division, showing actin (gray), myosin II (green) and DNA (magenta) Structured Illumination Microscopy 60x (objective lens magnification)

12th Place Luciano Andres Richino Punto NEF Photography Ramos Mejia, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina Urania ripheus (butterfly) wing scales Image Stacking 20x (objective lens magnification)

13th Place Charles Krebs Charles Krebs Photography Issaquah, Washington, USA Balanus glandula (acorn barnacle) Autofluorescence 5x (objective lens magnification)

14th Place Andrew Moore & Dr. Erika Holzbaur University of Pennsylvania, Department of Physiology Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA African green monkey cell (COS-7) stained for actin and microtubules Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) Microscopy 100x (objective lens magnification)

15th Place Antoine Franck CIRAD – Agricultural Research for Development Saint Pierre, Réunion, Reunion Island Varroa destructor (mite) on the back of Apis mellifera (honeybee) Focus Stacking 1x (objective lens magnification)

16th Place Dr. Amanda D. Phillips Yzaguirre Salk Institute for Biological Studies La Jolla, California, USA Mouse oviduct vasculature Confocal 10x (objective lens magnification)

17th Place Caleb Dawson The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Department of Stem Cells and Cancer Melbourne, Australia Breast 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 Microscopy 63x (objective lens magnification)

18th Place Justin Zoll Justin Zoll Photography Ithaca, New York, USA Amino acid crystals (L-glutamine and beta-alanine) Polarized Light, Image Tiling 4x (objective lens magnification)

19th Place Pierre Anquet La Tour-du-Crieu, Ariège, France Vespa velutina (Asian hornet) with venom on its stinger Reflected Light, Focus Stacking 6.3x (objective lens magnification)

20th Place Dr. Nicolás Cuenca & Isabel Ortuño-Lizarán University of Alicante, Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology San Vicente del Raspeig, Alicante, Spain Human retina Immunocytochemistry and Confocal Microscopy 40x (objective lens magnification)

Honorable Mentions

Anne Algar Hounslow, United Kingdom Daphnia (water flea) with eggs Darkfield with Polarizing Filters and Waveplate, and Image Stacking 4x (objective lens magnification)

Dr. Michael Boyle Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Marine Station Fort Pierce, Florida, USA Polytrochus 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) Confocal 10x (objective lens magnification)

Dr. Emilio Carabajal Márquez Madrid, Spain Emmonsite (iron tellurite mineral) Focus Stacking 20x (objective lens magnification)

Tracy Debenport Somerville, Massachusetts, USA Penicillium vulpinum (mold) Stereomicroscopy 2x (objective lens magnification)

Sergii Dymchenko SDym Photography Bellevue, Washington, USA Shell of a Litchi chinensis (lychee) Reflected Light, Transmitted Light, Focus Stacking 2x (objective lens magnification)

Charles Krebs Charles Krebs Photography Issaquah, Washington, USA Charaxes sp. (emperor butterfly) wing Reflected Light, Image Stacking 10x (objective lens magnification)

Anatoly Mikhaltsov Children’s Ecological and Biological Center Omsk, Russian Federation Pinus heldreichii (Bosnian pine tree) cross section Brightfield, Image Tiling and Stacking 25x (objective lens magnification)

Jacek Myslowski Wloclawek, Poland Mosses Autofluorescence 6.3x (objective lens magnification)

Walter Piorkowski South Beloit, Illinois, USA Bubbles and single cloth fiber (red) on a rock surface Reflected Light, Image Stacking 10x (objective lens magnification)

Teresa Zgoda Campbell Hall, New York, USA Chameleon embryo Stereomicroscopy, Autofluorescence 5x (objective lens magnification)

About Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition The 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 Contact Kristina Corso 212-931-6189 [email protected]

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Primary Logo

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