WILD NATURE

Creepy Crawlies, Under the Microscope

Some folks try their hardest to avoid creepy critters. Not scientists. Under the microscope, bugs and insects get bigger, brighter and in some cases, even a little more scary. Click with caution.

Albicorne Larvae

Over the years, winners of the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition have taken eye-opening -- and slightly spine-tingling -- images of the creepy crawly creatures most people try their hardest to avoid. 

Under the microscope, bugs and insects bear little or no resemblance to how we traditionally see them – getting an extreme makeover that makes them bigger, brighter and in some cases, even a little more scary. This gallery of images shows these tiny organisms as you’ve never seen them before. Click with caution.

Nikon Small World

Thrips

Image of Distinction, 2008
James Hayden,
The Wistar Institute
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thrips (40x)
Fluorescence

Nikon Small World

Fruit Fly Wings

Image of Distinction, 2008
Albert Tousson,
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Isolated fruit fly wings (25x)
Fluorescence

Nikon Small World

Sand Hopper

10th Place, 2008
Harold Taylor,
Kensworth, Dunstable, United Kingdom
Orchestia gammarella (sand hopper) (10x)
Darkfield

Nikon Small World

Bat Parasite

15th Place, 2001
Christian Gautier,
PHONE Photo Agency
Paris, France
Nycteribia sp. (parasite of bat) (20x)
Darkfield

Nikon Small World

Tapeworm

12th Place, 2004
Christian Gautier,
BIOS/PHONE Photo Agency
Paris, France
Scolex (head) of Cysticercus psiformis (tapeworm) (100x)
Polarized light

Nikon Small World

Deer Tick

12th Place, 1994
Ronald Lee Dumas,
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Male deer tick (Ixodes damini) (10x)
Rheinberg illumination

Nikon Small World

Flea

4th Place, 1997
David K. Terbush,
The George Washington University Medical Center
Washington, District Of Columbia, USA
Ctenocephalides (flea) (10x)
Rheinberg illumination

Nikon Small World

Female Mosquito

Image of Distinction, 2007
Martin Spitaler and Anna Schnitger
FILM – Facility for Imaging by Light Microscopy & Laboratory of Immunogenomics
Imperial College London
Anopheles gambiae (female mosquito) (2.5x)
Transmitted Light

Nikon Small World

Aphid

Dr. Robert Markus
Institute of Genetics,
Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Szeged, Hungary
Intact outer skin of an aphid (65x)
Confocal

Nikon Small World

Great Diving Beetle

Image of Distinction, 2007
Dr. Stephen Lowry,
University of Ulster
Coleraine, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Dytiscus marginalis (great diving beetle) male foreleg suckers (20x)
Polarized light

Nikon Small World

Nymph Stage of Deer Tick

12th Place, 1989
Michael Peres,
RBP
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York, USA
Nymph stage of deer tick, Ixodes Dammini (25x)
Darkfield

Nikon Small World

Mollusk

13th Place, 2007
Dr. Stephen Lowry,
University of Ulster
Coleraine, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Coiled radula of Patella vulgaris (mollusk) (20x)
Polarized light

Nikon Small World

Spider Egg Case

16th Place, 2007
Steven Valley,
Oregon Department of Agriculture, Plant Division
Salem, Oregon, USA
Mimetidae sp. (spider) egg case (30x)
Stereomicroscopy

Nikon Small World

Water Scavenger Beetle

6th Place, 2007
Charles Krebs,
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Hydrophilidae sp. (water scavenger beetle) larva (100x)
Brightfield with Crossed Polarization

Nikon Small World

Garden Ant

Honorable Mention, 2004
Dr. Jaromir Plasek,
Prague, Czech Republic
Wing of a Lasius niger queen (garden ant) (20x)
Fluorescence

Nikon Small World

Weevil Head

Image of Distinction, 2007
Ralph Grimm,
Jimboomba, Queensland, Australia
Weevil head (50x)
Reflected light

Nikon Small World

Australian Green-Head Ant

Ralph Grimm, Private Research
Jimboomba, Qld, Australia
Rhytidoponera metallica (Australian green-head ant) (30x)
Reflected light

Nikon Small World

Parasitic Wasp

18th Place, 2007
Klaus Bolte,
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Amisega floridensis (parasitic wasp) (90x)
Stereomicroscopy

Nikon Small World

Tiger Beetle

Image of Distinction, 2007
David Almquist,
Microimaginings.com
Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Cicindela sexguttata (tiger beetle) (30x)
Stereomicroscopy

Nikon Small World

Water Flea

Image of Distinction, 2009
Dr. Jan Michels,
Institute of Zoology
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Kiel, Germany
Ventral view of Daphnia pulex (common water flea) (10x)
Confocal

Nikon Small World

Backswimmer

Image of Distinction, 2009
Massimo Brizzi,
Microcosmo Italia
Empoli, Firenze, Italy
Notonecta Glauca (Backswimmer aquatic insect) (100x)
Darkfield

Nikon Small World

Aquatic Larva

Fabrice Parais, DIREN Basse-Normandie
Hérouville-Saint-Clair, Cedex, France
Head of Simulidae (fly) aquatic larva (40x)
Stereomicroscope with four light sources

Nikon Small World

Butterfly Wing

Image of Distinction, 2009
Karie Holtermann,
Rancho Cucamonga, California, United States
Raindrop on butterfly wing (20x)
Differential interference contrast

Nikon Small World

Deep-Water Decapod

20th Place, 2008
Solvin Zankl,
Solvin Zankl Images
Kiel, Germany
Sergestes larva (deep-water decapod crustacean) (30x)
Darkfield

Nikon Small World

Micro Leaf Beetle

6th Place, 2008
Klaus Bolte,
Stittsville, Ontario, Canada
Chrysolina fastuosa (Micro leaf beetle) on a pin head (40x)
Stereomicroscopy

Nikon Small World

Creepy Crawlies, Under the Microscope

Some folks try their hardest to avoid creepy critters. Not scientists. Under the microscope, bugs and insects get bigger, brighter and in some cases, even a little more scary. Click with caution.

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