Biology

Tiny terrors: The mini monsters among us

When viewed up close beneath the unblinking eye of the microscope, the tiniest mites and most harmless of insects become terrifying beasts to haunt your dreams.

dust mite

Dust Mite

Millions of terrifying looking dust mites dwell in our houses -- and cause severe allergic reactions in many people. 

Hydrothermal Worm

Hydrothermal Worm

No mere earthworm -- but no dragon either --these worms are deep sea creatures, almost as small as bacteria, that are largely found near hydrothermal vents in the ocean.

FEI Photo Gallery/Philippe Crassous

Sand Hopper

Sand Hopper

The Orchestia gammarella -- more commonly called a sand hopper -- magnified 10x.

Nikon Small World/Harold Taylor

Caterpillar Mouth

Caterpillar Mouth

The detailed mouthparts of a caterpillar, showing the sensory organs on the tip of one maxillary palpus.

FEI Photo Gallery/Miranda Waldron

Juvenile bivalve mollusc

Young Mollusc

A young bivalve mollusc -- the class including such critters as mussels -- looks distinctly different when blown up 10x. 

Nikon Small World / Dr. Gregory Rouse

Wasp Eye, Up Close

Wasp

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man? With compound eye and antenna like this -- blown up 40x -- perhaps the wasp does.

Nikon Small World / Charles Krebs

Bed bug up close

Bed Bug

You don't want them in your bed -- and you don't want to get a close up glimpse of them either. 

CDC/ Janice Haney Carr

Brine Shrimp

Brine Shrimp

Blown up 10x, the common brine shrimp looks like some kind of space monster.

Nikon Small World / Dr. Gregory Rouse

deep-water decapod crustacean

Decapod larva 

Some infant sea creatures are cute. Some, like the larva of Sergestes (a deep-water crustacean) grow kind of creepy when see magnified 30x.

Nikon Small World / Solvin Zankl

Trichoptera Odontocerum albicorne larvae

Albicorne Larva

Trichoptera Odontocerum -- or simply the albicorne -- are little critters that live in the gravelly, sandy beds of rivers. And seen magnified 10x, they're startling. 

Nikon Small World/Fabrice Parais

Backswimmer aquatic insect

Backswimmer insect

Even the tiniest critters -- like this little insect, the simply adorable Notonecta Glauca -- seem capable of swooping one away when blown up 100x.

Nikon Small World / Massimo Brizzi

common water flea

Water flea

Daphnia pulex -- the common water flea -- lives, oh, in pretty much every lake out there. And seen at 10x, they're arresting. 

Nikon Small World / Dr. Jan Michels

Fly Larva

Atherix ibis (fly)

This aquatic larva is clearly some kind of alien creature, when magnified 25x.

Nikon Small World / Fabrice Parais

bearded weevil

Bearded Weevil

Weevils are super common beetles that hang out -- oh, pretty much everywhere. Up close, however, this Rhinostomus barbirostris Fabricius is fairly freaky. 

Nikon Small World / Alexa Vanegas

Tiny terrors: The mini monsters among us

When viewed up close beneath the unblinking eye of the microscope, the tiniest mites and most harmless of insects become terrifying beasts to haunt your dreams.

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