CLOSER LOOK

A scientist’s photo of a baby fish ended up winning first prize in a Nikon photo contest

The Nikon Small World photo competition announced the finalists of its photomicrography competition today, Oct. 19. Submitted by scientists working for universities and hospitals, as well as professional and amateur photographers, these incredibly close-up winning images showcase the microscopic world around us.

The first-place winner of the competition was University of Texas researcher Oscar Ruiz, who captured the stunned-looking face of a days old zebrafish embryo. Ruiz uses zebrafish to study the genetic mutations that create facial abnormalities, like cleft palates.

Of all the entries, some of the most unexpected are studies of butterflies. Under the lens of powerful laboratory microscopes, the butterfly’s intricate, flower-like wings transform into surreal and slightly creepy patterns of overlapping scales. Their oft-missed proboscis appears as a coiled black mamba retreating into a bush of spiky red bristles.

Other eye-opening finalists in the competition include an image of the translucent leaves of moss and a landscape shot of bright pink slime mold.

Scales of a butterfly wing.
Scales of a butterfly wing. (Evan Darling/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/Nikon)
A butterfly proboscis.
A butterfly proboscis. (Jochen Schroeder/Nikon)
Scales of a Chapman Blue butterfly wing.
Scales of a Chapman Blue butterfly wing. (Anne Gleich/Nikon)
Egg of a Gulf Fritillary butterfly.
Egg of a Gulf Fritillary butterfly. (David Millard/Nikon)

 

 

Take a look at several other fascinating entries that explore a variety of subjects:

Eyes of a jumping spider.
Eyes of a jumping spider. (Yousef Al Habshi/Nikon)
Seeds of an Indian Paintbrush wildflower
Seeds of an Indian Paintbrush wildflower (David Millard/Nikon)
Leaves of Selaginella moss
Leaves of Selaginella moss (Dr. David Maitland/Nikon)
Slime mold.
Slime mold. (Jose Almodovar/University of Puerto Rico/Nikon)
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