Feast your eyes on the winners of the 2018 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, an annual photography competition dedicated to finding the beauty and scientific intrigue in all things stupidly small, from spider embryos to human teardrops.
Emirati photographer Yousef Al Habshi is this year’s winner for his perspective-bending image of a Metapocyrtus subquadrulifer Weevil. Although this species of beetle is typically smaller than 11 millimeters (0.4 inches), Al Habshi’s image clearly picks up on the insect’s compound eye and surrounding greenish scales with unbelievable clarity.
“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,” Al Habshi said in a statement. “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.”
His image is much more than a pretty picture, too. Al Habshi’s work has been used by Professor Claude Desplan, of New York University Abu Dhabi, to help understand the lifecycle of M. subquadrulifer weevils and how farmers can ward off infestations.
Second place was awarded to Rogelio Moreno from Panama for his colorful photo of a fern’s sorus, the microscopic structures found in ferns (and fungi) that produce spores, using a photo stacking technique.
Saulius Gugis of Illinois in the US took home third place for his image of a spittlebug nymph. The tiny spittlebug was captured in the middle of making a “bubble house”, a frothy layer of foam it creates to hide from predators, keep warm, and stay moist.
You can check out some of the other winning images, along with the “honorable mentions” from the judges, below. If this kind of stuff floats your boat then be sure to check out previous years' entries.