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Spectacular red palm weevil scoops the highest award in the insect photography award

This red palm beetle looks like it’s ready for a boxing match. The close-up was named Mofeed Abu Shalwa Luminar Bug Photographer of the Year 2020


4th November 2020

By Gege Li

Mofeed Abu Shalwa / Luminar Bug P.

Mofeed Abu Shalwa / Luminar Bug Photography Awards 2020

THIS spectacular but terrifying close-up of a red palm beetle reveals every detail of the insect’s rust-colored exterior that is usually difficult to see with the eye.


Mofeed Abu Shalwa, who took the picture, says he started photographing insects to overcome his childhood fear of them. He discovered this weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) next to a date palm in the forests of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia. The picture won him the Luminar Bug Photographer of the Year 2020 at the first Luminar Bug Photography Awards.

With a length between 2 and 4 centimeters, red palm beetles are relatively large insects. They are native to Southeast Asia and have spread to parts of Africa and Europe, including the UK.

While the weevils pose no direct threat to humans or animals, their effect on young palm trees makes them a formidable pest. It has been estimated that they cost growers in the Middle East millions each year for example because they destroy date palms that were grown for their fruits.

So far it is known that 26 palm species are infested by the red palm weevil, whose larvae, after hatching, weakening and sometimes killing the plant, bored holes up to one meter deep in the trees. Insecticides and traps keep some of the insects at bay, but more sustainable and comprehensive measures are needed to fully control this pest.

The winners of the Luminar Bug Photography Awards can be found at

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