Incredible Insect Eyes

I’ve always been fascinated by insects’ eyes because they contain such a large amount of fine detail and texture. What appear as tiny black specks to the naked eye are in fact immaculate geometric structures.

An ant’s eye:

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  • Nikon M Plan 20x/0.4 ELWD
  • 121 images (focus stacked) at 4 micron increments
  • photos of setup

Because of their reflective nature, the eyes are rather difficult to light at extremely high magnifications. For the image above, I wrapped a tissue around the lens and the subject then positioned the flash an inch or so above the tissue.

Here’s a robber fly and a closeup look at its eye.


Apparently, insects with compound eyes see the world in a way that’s comparable to looking through a kaleidoscope.

Finally, here’s a 50x magnification shot of a fly’s eye. Each of the hexagonal facets (called ommatidia) is a fraction of the width of a human hair.


  • Nikon CF Plan 50X 0.55 EPI ELWD
  • 44 images (focus stacked) at 1 micron increments
  • photos of setup

If you’d like to see more of my extra high-mag photos, please visit the “Extreme Magnification” gallery on my website.

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