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Phalangium opilio, or Harvestman eyes
Phalangium opilio
2010 1st Place winner Dr. Igor Siwanowicz

Eye-Popping Image of Daddy Longlegs Wins
International Olympus BioScapes Photo Competition

This exhibit closed February 28, 2011

A weird, wide-eyed wonder has earned top prize in the 2010 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®, the world’s foremost forum for showcasing microscope photos and movies of life science subjects. Dr. Igor Siwanowicz of the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich, Germany captured the image, which showcases the bug-eyed splendor of a Daddy Longlegs, also known as a Harvestman or Phalangium opilio.

The photo reveals not only the eyes’ lenses (two large ovals), but also the retinas and optic nerves (trailing down at center back) of the artistic arachnid. This stunning depiction, a depth color-coded projection of a confocal microscope image, was selected from about 2000 images and movies to earn First Prize - $5,000 worth of Olympus equipment.

Now in its seventh year, the Olympus BioScapes competition is the world’s premier platform for honoring images and movies of human, plant and animal subjects as captured through light microscopes. Any life science subject is eligible, and entries are judged based on the science they depict, their aesthetics (beauty and impact of the image), and their technical merit. This year, in addition to Prizes 1–10, 59 other images and movies were recognized with Honorable Mentions or Technical Merit Awards.

This year’s winning images reflect the latest advances in neuroscience and cell biology, including the Second Prize image by Thomas Deerinck of the University of California, San Diego’s National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. His image of a rat hippocampus, part of the brain involved with spatial navigation and memory, resembles a beautiful undulating ocean wave as it might have been painted by an Impressionist artist a century ago.

In addition to Igor Siwanowicz (1st), and Thomas Deerinck (2nd), the other Top 10 winners are:

  • 3rd James Nicholson
  • 4th Wolfgang Bettighofer
  • 5th M.R. Dadpour
  • 7th Jerzy Gubernator
  • 6th Igor Siwanowicz
  • 8th Jan Michels
  • 9th Yanping Wang
  • 10th Laurie Knight

To view the BioScapes gallery and see all of the winners, 57 Honorable Mentions and 2 Judges’ Awardees for Technical Merit, visit


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