Nikon Small World 2017: Microscope reveals surprising beauty of bugs, plants and minerals

Stunning images of magnified spiders' eyes and ants' legs and the beautiful crystalline structure of minerals and pharmaceuticals and more.

The annual Nikon Small World Competition – now in its 43rd year – combines art and science as it recognises the best photos taken under a microscope. The top 20 images were revealed earlier this week, and included a ghoulish tapeworm, a bejewelled bee, Pac-Man algae and weevil porn.

IBTimes UK now reveals some of the other amazing images recognised by the judges out of more than 2,000 entries from 88 countries around the world. They include hugely magnified spiders' eyes and ants' legs, as well as the surprisingly beautiful crystalline structure of common minerals and pharmaceuticals.

Emre Can Alagöz, Marmara University, Department of Photography, Istanbul, Turkey. Jumping Spider, Reflected Light, 6xEmre Can Alagöz
Emilio Carabajal Márquez​​​, Madrid, Spain​​​​: Pyromorphite (mineral)​​​​, Image Stacking​​​​, 2.5x (objective lens magnification)Emilio Carabajal Márquez
Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, Modernist Cuisine, Bellevue, Washington, USA: Broccoli, Image Stacking, 4.9xDr. Nathan Myhrvold
Henri Koskinen​​​, Helsinki, Finland​​​​: Paracetamol (common painkiller) crystals​​​​, Polarized Light​​​​, 20x (objective lens magnification)Henri Koskinen
Can Tunçer​​​​, Affiliation​​​​​, Izmir, Turkey​​​​: Natural bridge (Petiole nodes) connecting the abdomen and thorax of an ant​​​, Focus Stacking​​​​, 5x (objective lens magnification)Can Tunçer​​​​
Yousef Al Habshi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates​​​​: Asilidae (rubber fly) eye section​​​​, Reflected Light​​​​, 20x (objective lens magnification)Yousef Al Habshi
Emilio Carabajal Márquez​​, Madrid, Spain​​​​: Nsutite and Cacoxenite (minerals)​​​​, Image Stacking​​​​, 5x (objective lens magnification)Emilio Carabajal Márquez​​
Walter Piorkowski​​​, South Beloit, Illinois, USA​​​​: Moth eggs in spider silk​​​​, Reflected Light, Image Stacking​​​​, 16xWalter Piorkowski
Dr. Kif Liakath-Ali​​​, King's College London, Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine​​​​, London, United Kingdom​​​​: Nerves (in green) under the skin of a mouse (hair follicles are shown in red and blue)​​, Confocal​​​​, 40xDr. Kif Liakath-Ali​​​
Jan Rosenboom​​​, Universität Rostock​​​​, Rostock, Germany​​​​: Small moth​​​​, Image Stacking​​​​, 5x (objective lens magnification)Jan Rosenboom
Rogelio Moreno​​​​, Panama, Panama​​​​: Cladocera (water flea)​​​​, Brightfield, Image Stacking​​​​, 10x (objective lens magnification)Rogelio Moreno​​​​
Dean Lerman​​, Netanya, Israel​​​​: Abdominal proleg of Lasiocampa (a caterpillar), ​​​Reflected Light, Focus Stacking​​​​, 3.7x (objective lens magnification)Dean Lerman
Dr. Jan Michels​​​​, Institute of Zoology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics​​​​, Kiel, Germany​​​​: Circocerus (beetle) head​​​​, Confocal​​​​, 10x (objective lens magnification)Dr. Jan Michels
Outi Paloheimo​​​, University of Tampere, Tampere Imaging Facility​​​​, Tampere, Finland​​​​: Underside of a pseudoscorpion (arachnid)​​​​, Confocal​​​​, 200xOuti Paloheimo
Rogelio Moreno​​​​, Panama, Panama​​​​: Pleurotaenium ovatum (microalgae)​​​​, Fluorescence​​​​, 20x (objective lens magnification)Rogelio Moreno​​​​
Oliver Collar, Fitwick, United Kingdom​​​​: Hebomoia glaucippe (great orange butterfly), front view​​​​, Image Stacking​​​​, 5x (objective lens magnification)Oliver Collar
Dr. Nuria Andrés-Colás​​​​, Ghent University, Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology, Department of Biology​​​​, Ghent, Belgium​​​​: Male and female reproductive organs of Arabidopsis thaliana (flowering plant)​​​​, Differential Interference Contrast​​​​, 10x (objective lens magnification)Dr. Nuria Andrés-Colás
Frank Fox​​​, Konz, Germany​​​​: Rotifers​​​​, Darkfield, Transmitted Light​​​​, 20x (objective lens magnification)Frank Fox
Charles Krebs​​​​, Charles Krebs Photography​​​​, Issaquah, Washington, USA​​​​: Mosquito larva, early development​​​​, Darkfield​​​​, 10x (objective lens magnification)Charles Krebs​​​​
Karl Gaff​​​, Dublin Institute of Technology, School of Physics and Clinical & Optometric Sciences​​​, Dublin, Ireland​​​: Central region of a Geranium robertianum (Herb Robert) flower showing a folded up stigma encircled by pollen covered anthers​​​, Reflected Light​​​​, 4x (objective lens magnification)Karl Gaff
Laurie Knight​​​​, Tonbridge, United Kingdom​​​​: Simple Eyes of Ectemnius (digger wasp) with condensation​​​​, Reflected Light​​​​, 20x (objective lens magnification)Laurie Knight​​​​
Saulius Gugis​​​, Naperville, Illinois, USA​​​​: Plant tendril​​​​, Focus Stacking​​​​, 3.7x (objective lens magnification)Saulius Gugis

Nikon Small World was founded in 1974 to recognise excellence in photography through the microscope. 2017 marks the 43rd year of the Nikon Small World Competition. This year is also the 100th anniversary of Nikon Instruments. Top images from the 2017 Nikon Small World Competition will be exhibited in a full-colour calendar and through a museum tour of the US and Canada. For additional information, visit


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