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

October 11, 2018

The breath-taking winners of the 44th annual competition unveil the microscopic beauty hidden from the naked eye

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. 

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 www.nikonsmallworld.com, 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 www.nikonsmallworld.com

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
Darkfleld 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 www.nikonsmallworld.com. 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 www.nikonsmallworld.com.


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