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

    Sand Hopper The Orchestia gammarella -- more commonly called a sand hopper -- magnified 10x.
    Nikon Small World/Harold Taylor
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    Brine Shrimp

    Brine Shrimp Blown up 10x, the common brine shrimp looks like some kind of space monster.
    Nikon Small World / Dr. Gregory Rouse
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    Fly Larva

    Atherix ibis (fly) This aquatic larva is clearly some kind of alien creature, when magnified 25x.
    Nikon Small World / Fabrice Parais
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    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
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