Winning Photos from the 2018 Nikon Small World Competition

Nikon has announced the winning photos from the 2018 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, the 44th annual contest celebrating “excellence in photography through the light microscope.”

The first place photo, shown above and captured by Emirati photographer Yousef Al Habshi, shows part of the compound eye of an Asian Red Palm weevil and the greenish scales that surround it. The beetle is usually less than 0.43in (11mm) in length.

Al Habshi created the photo using reflected light and by stacking 128 micrographs into a single photo.

“The main challenge was to show the black body against the black background without overexposing the skin and scales,” the photographer says. “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. 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.”

Here is a selection of other winning photos from this year’s competition:

Spore Structures

2nd place. Fern sorus (structures producing and containing spores). Rogelio Moreno Gill of Panama, Panama.

Bug in Bubble House

3rd place. Spittlebug nymph in its bubble house. Saulius Gugis of Naperville, Illinois, USA

Peacock Feather

4th place. Peacock feather section. Can Tunçer of İzmir, Turkey

Spider Embryo

5th place. Parasteatoda tepidariorum (spider embryo) stained for embryo surface (pink), nuclei (blue) and microtubules (green). Dr. Tessa Montague, Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


6th place. Primate foveola (central region of the retina). Hanen Khabou of Paris, France

Tear Drop

7th place. Human tear drop. Norm Barker, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine of Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Weevil Portrait

8th place. Portrait of Sternochetus mangiferae (mango seed weevil). Pia Scanlon, Government of Western Australia of South Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Stalks and Pollen

10th place. Stalks with pollen grains. Dr. Csaba Pintér, University of Pannonia, Georgikon Faculty of Keszthely, Hungary

Human Cell Division

11th place. Human fibroblast undergoing cell division, showing actin (gray), myosin II (green) and DNA (magenta). Nilay Taneja, Vanderbilt Universit of Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Butterfly Wing Scales

12th place. Urania ripheus (butterfly) wing scales. Luciano Andres Richino of Ramos Mejia, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

A Mite on a Bee

15th place. Varroa destructor (mite) on the back of Apis mellifera (honeybee). Antoine Franck of Saint Pierre, Réunion Island, France

Breast Tissue in Lactation

17th place. 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). Caleb Dawson of Melbourne, Australia

Hornet Venom

19th place. Vespa velutina (Asian hornet) with venom on its stinger. Pierre Anquet of La Tour-du-Crieu, Ariège, France

You can find the complete gallery of winning photos on the Nikon Small World Competition website.