The turban eye allows for low-light vision and is found only in some male mayflies.
The turban eye allows for low-light vision and is found only in some male mayflies.

Bug-Eyed

The eye is an organ of extreme perfection. I have a strong interest in evolution, and eyes have developed stunning adaptations over time. This mayfly is a male with what are called turban eyes—greatly enlarged eyes at the top of the head in the shape of a turban. The male uses his eyes to scout for the silhouette of a female in the dim light of dusk. He doesn’t even have a working mouth. If you live for only one day, as adult males usually do, you don’t need to eat. But you do need tremendous eyes to find a female before you die.

I am a cancer researcher, but I also work as a science photographer under the name “Micronaut.” The “micro” is because I specialize in shooting very small things using a scanning electron microscope at the School of Life Sciences in Muttenz, Switzerland. “Naut” is because I feel like an astronaut with the scanner, flying along and making discoveries. The scanner creates black-and-white images that can take a week for me to enhance with color. Research like this is not just scientifically important—it is extremely beautiful.

Read This Next

The four-decade quest for an HIV vaccine yields new hope

In Venezuela, a quest for sainthood offers proof of miracles

South Africa plans to end controversial captive lion industry

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet