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Cannibalistic ants and blue scorpions: The first winners of the Bug Photography Awards

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Cannibalistic ants and blue scorpions: The first winners of the Bug Photography Awards
A male jumping spider performing a courtship dance.   -   Copyright  Raed Ammari/ Raed Ammari
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The winners have been announced for the first ever Luminar Bug Photography Awards.

Run in association with European invertebrate conservation charity Buglife, the competition aims to showcase the unexpected and often overlooked beauty of bugs.

Here are some of our favourites from among the winners:

Overall winner

Mofeed Abu Shalwa/ Mofeed Abu Shalwa
'Red palm weevil', shortlisted in the Extreme Close-Up category.Mofeed Abu Shalwa/ Mofeed Abu Shalwa

Mofeed Abu Shalwa picked up the grand prize, winning the Luminar Bug Photographer of the Year title. The Saudi Arabian photographer first began taking pictures of bugs to help overcome his childhood phobia of insects.

This first photo shows a palm weevil, whose larvae can excavate holes up to a metre long in palm trees, weakening and even killing the host plant.

Mofeed Abu Shalwa/ Mofeed Abu Shalwa
'Blue Longhorn Beetle', shortlisted in the 'Beetles' categoryMofeed Abu Shalwa/ Mofeed Abu Shalwa

Here, Mofeed Abu Shalwa captures a blue longhorned beetle - typically characterised by extremely long antennae. This particular specimen was shot in an Indonesian rainforest.

Young photographers

Jamie Spensley/ Jamie Spensley
“Carder Bee” Winner in the ‘Young Bug Photographer’ category.Jamie Spensley/ Jamie Spensley

The winner of the Young Bug Photographer category was Jamie Spensley from the UK, with this incredible photo of a carder bee. This piece is actually a composite of 41 separate images using a technique called 'focus-stack' which helps add depth to the final image.

elliotconnor/ elliotconnor
“Spiderling Silhouettes” 2nd place in the ‘Young Bug Photographer’ category.elliotconnor/ elliotconnor

This creepy image is by Elliot Connor from Sydney, Australia. Elliot cleverly uses the natural light and underexposure to create the silhouettes of the spiderlings.

Jamie Spensley/ Jamie Spensley
“A small hoverfly pollinating alone” 3rd place in the ‘Young Bug Photographer’ category.Jamie Spensley/ Jamie Spensley

A hoverfly is captured by Jamie Spensley in his back garden, who picked up third place as well as the top spot in this category.

Eight-legged friends

The competition also has individual categories for different types of invertebrates. We've picked some of our favourites from the rest of the awards below. First are everyone's favourites...arachnids!

longcaiwang/ longcaiwang
“Microspur 1” Winner in the ‘Arachnids’ category.longcaiwang/ longcaiwang
Digby Rogers
“UK Docklands Invader: Meeting the New Neighbours”. 2nd place in the ‘Arachnids’ category. These scorpions were found in an isolated British dockyard!Digby Rogers
Raed Ammari/ Raed Ammari
“Dancing Spider” 3rd place in the ‘Arachnids’ category.Raed Ammari/ Raed Ammari

Beetles

wildmacro/Christian Brockes
“3…2…1.. Take off!” Winner in the ‘Beetles’ category.wildmacro/Christian Brockes
Martijn Nugteren
“A stag beetle behind a leaf” 2nd place in the ‘Beetles’ category.Martijn Nugteren
Li Feng
“Look” 3rd place in the ‘Beetles’ category.Li Feng

Things that fly and things with slime

Peter Orr ARPS/ Peter Orr
“Three Mayfly on Crested Dogstail” Winner in the ‘Flies, Bees, Wasps and Dragonflies’ category.Peter Orr ARPS/ Peter Orr
Rory J Lewis/ Rory J Lewis
“The eyes have it” 2nd place in the ‘Flies, Bees, Wasps and Dragonflies’ category.Rory J Lewis/ Rory J Lewis
Chris Ruijter
“Purple haze” 3rd place in the ‘Flies, Bees, Wasps and Dragonflies’ category.Chris Ruijter
David lain/ David lain
“Snail” Winner in the ‘Snails and Slugs’ categoryDavid lain/ David lain
Galice Hoarau
“Pteropod” 2nd place in the ‘Snails and Slugs’ category.Galice Hoarau
Lee Frost's Capture Of Life/ Lee Frost
“The Literal Bug Home” 3rd place in the ‘Bug Homes’ categoryLee Frost's Capture Of Life/ Lee Frost

Extreme close-ups

Riyad Hamzi/ Riyad Hamzi
“Potter Wasp” Winner in the ‘Extreme Close-Up’ categoryRiyad Hamzi/ Riyad Hamzi
Roger Mepsted/ Roger Mepsted
“Little Ant” 2nd place in the ‘Extreme Close-Up’ category.Roger Mepsted/ Roger Mepsted
Mofeed Abu Shalwa/ Mofeed Abu Shalwa
“Bee Xylocopa Violacea” 3rd place in the ‘Extreme Close-Up’ category.Mofeed Abu Shalwa/ Mofeed Abu Shalwa
Stephen James
“Silver “Y” Gamma Moth Profile” The astonishing detail in this Silver Y moth was captured by Stephen James, and was shortlisted in the ‘Extreme Close-Up’ category.Stephen James

Aquatic bugs and all the rest

Galice Horau
“Diamond Squid” Winner in the ‘Aquatic Bugs’ categoryGalice Horau
Galice Hoarau
“Wunderpus” 2nd place in the ‘Aquatic Bugs’ category.Galice Hoarau
Reynante M. Martinez
“Tug of War”. This dramatic shot by Reynante Martinez won the ‘All the other bugs’ category, and shows two weaver ants pulling apart a smaller species.Reynante M. Martinez
Bence Mate
“Tailored” 2nd place in the ‘All the Other Bugs’ category. Leafcutter ants at work!Bence Mate
Fabio Sartori
“Duo” Winner in the ‘Mobile Phone’ category. Two European dwarf mantis (ameles spallanzia) perched atop a flower, in Italy.Fabio Sartori

And that concludes the first ever Luminar Bug Photography Awards!

“A huge congratulations to all the participants and winners," says Matt Shardlow, CEO Buglife.

"It is often said we only save the things we know and love. Sadly this seldom applies to the bugs without whom life as we know it would come to an end. These awards will hopefully bring people closer to the beauty and value of our multi-legged friends."

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