An incredible close up image of a red palm weevil appearing prepared for a boxing match was the top winner at the first Lumina Bug Photography Awards competition, that spotlighted dozens of images of a realm unusually seen.

With obtrusive eyes and quizzical looks on their faces, the bugs and insects pictured by photographers from around the world have never appeared more human.

With impeccable attribute, nature enthusiasts can behold the fragile feet of the red palm weevil and glaring eyes of the dragon fly, there are action shots of arachnids and underwater scenes featuring crabs, jellyfish and octopi.

Over 800 insect enthusiasts submitted shots to the inaugural competition, with Mofeed Abu Shalwa, from Saudi Arabia, awarded photographer of the year for his image of a red palm weevil in incredible attribute.

Mofeed began snapping bugs as a way of conquering his childhood fear of insects and amazed judges with his outstanding level of ‘technical skill and creativity’.

Jamie Spensley, from Solihull, West Midlands, received the young photographer of the year gong, with the 17-year-old snapping a ‘technically brilliant shot’ of a carder bee that was shot handheld.

He asserted that it was a tough picture to get as it had to be done handheld, so ‘focus stacking was a nightmare’, adding he couldn’t picture it automatically so had to mask out all of the out-of-focus areas in every of the 40 images he utilized to create the final image. In the end he was ‘very happy with the result’.

Mike Betts, who conducted the competition, said: ‘These awards showcase the incredible variety and complexity of the world of invertebrates, and give those who photograph them an opportunity to have their talent recognised.

‘Our planet is facing an array of environmental and ecological challenges, and few more pressing than the huge recent declines in many invertebrate populations.

‘We’re proud to be able to support Buglife’s crucial conservation efforts, and to use these awards as a means to carry their message about the plight of invertebrates.’

Matt Shardlow, chief executive of charity Buglife, which aided the competition, complimented all of the partakers, saying we ‘only save things we know and love’ which ‘sadly seldom applies to bugs.’

He said he hopes that this new award will ‘bring people closer to the beauty and value of our multi-legged friends.’

As well as the all-around and youth winners, other categories comprised aquatic bugs, going to a snapshot of a diamond squid by Galice Hoarau and arachnids going to a picture of a microspurl by Lung-Tsai Wang.

Images of beetles also had a specific category, with an image of a beetle prepared to fly by Christian Brockes receiving first prize in that group of images.

Additional flying insects and bugs were sorted together comprising flies, bees, wasps and dragonflies, with top prize getting on to a picture of three mayfly on a crested dogstail by Peter Orr.

The judging panel comprised well-known figures entailing Buglife President, Germaine Greer; TV presenter and naturalist Nick Baker; and ground-breaking invertebrates photographer Levon Biss.

The competition initially opened in May 2020 with the ultimate entries submitted by September 2020. All photographers could submit about eight images in each of the ten main categories.

The photographers paid to enter the competition, with a £6 fee for a single image and £80 fee for uploading the maximum number of 80 images.

All bugs must be alive and well in order for the photo to be accepted, and any method – such as freezing, spraying, pinning or killing – to keep them in a spot was forbidden.

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