Ants feeding off honeydew wins the Royal Society of Biology’s photo prize

Viswanath Birje has been announced as the winner of the Royal Society of Biology’s photography competition, for his image of ants feeding off honeydew excreted by a yellow aphid.

Ants feeding off honeydew excreted by a yellow aphidImage source, Viswanath Birje

Birje, who captured the shot in Thane, India, said: “There are many magical events happening in nature around us – I was just being curious and observant.

“The photograph just shows such a situation between the ants, aphid and mites.”

The Royal Society of Biology’s annual photography competition attracts entries from amateur photographers around the world, with more than 1,600 entries submitted this year for the theme “interconnected”.

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Runner up: Truong Hoai Vu – Hon Yen marine ecosystem, Phu Yen, Vietnam

Hon Yen marine ecosystem in Phu Yen, VietnamImage source, Truong Hoai Vu

Every year, between May and August, the coral of this rich and diverse ecosystem becomes exposed at low tide.

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Shortlisted

Alfonso Roldán Losada – Family Quarrel, Córdoba, Spain

Bee-eatersImage source, Alfonso Roldán Losada
Image caption, Bee-eaters pictured on a branch. The Southern European breeding bird is easily spotted due to its distinctive brightly coloured feathers.

Henry Harte – The plague, Borana, Kenya

Locusts in Borana, KenyaImage source, Henry Harte
Image caption, In 2019, Kenya and most of East Africa suffered its worst locust outbreak in 70 years.

Ripan Biswas – The hunt, West Bengal, India

A jewel wasp attacking a cockroach.Image source, Ripan Biswas
Image caption, A jewel wasp attacking a cockroach.

Wei Fu – Bite for survival, Bangkok, Thailand

A tokay gecko bites a golden tree snakeImage source, Wei Fu
Image caption, The tokay gecko bites back despite being held in the coils of the golden tree snake
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Chanchal Sur Chowdhury – Spiderman of our body, Missouri, USA

Cells destroying tuberculosisImage source, Chanchal Sur Chowdhury
Image caption, Neutrophil cells (light blue) release web-like structures (yellow) to defend against tuberculosis bacteria (pink).

John Ishide Bulanadi – A tiny gathering, Pampanga, Philippines

Thief ants consuming syrup on a leafImage source, John Ishide Bulanadi
Image caption, A small group of ants are gathered to enjoy a few drops of syrup on top of a wax apple leaf.
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Gu Guanghui – Solar power plan, Zhejiang Province, China

Solar power plan, Zhejiang Province, ChinaImage source, Gu Guanghui
Image caption, A large group of herons perch upon solar power panels at dusk.
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Young Photographer of the Year: Roan Jones, Somerset, UK

A tyre being reclaimed by nature in the Vallis Forest, Somerset.Image source, Roan Jones

The winner of the RSB’s Young Photographer of the Year is Roan Jones, aged 15.

Jones captured a tyre being reclaimed by nature in the Vallis forest, Somerset, showing the connection between people and the natural world.

“I felt inspired to take the photo at a local forest in my home town, because this is somewhere I often visit and know there are lots of places of interest.”

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Runner up: Alice Feng, UK

Bacillus subtilis being grown on a dextrose agar plateImage source, Alice Feng
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The patterns in this image, called Fractals, are of Bacillus subtilis being grown on a dextrose agar plate.

The patterns form depending on the conditions of the bacteria’s environment and how bacterial cells move after coming into contact with each other.

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Highly commended: Hayden Wood, the watering hole, Kenya

Grévy's zebra at a watering hole, KenyaImage source, Hayden Wood

A pair of Grévy’s zebra drink from a watering hole.

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All photos courtesy The Royal Society of Biology