The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

By Sarah Zhang on at

The Olympus BioScapes Competition never fails to amaze. This year's winners, unveiled this week, are a gorgeous and alien look at the microscopic world of vampire moths and butter daisies and many things in between.

To lose yourself entirely in the world of the miniature, be sure to check out winners and dozens of honourable mentions at Olympus. We've collected the top ten here.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

First place: The video, which you can watch in full here, traces the development of a fruit fly embryo over 24 hours. Credit: William Lemon, Fernando Amat and Philipp Keller, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Second place. Rat brain cerebellum. Thomas Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, University of California San Diego, CA, USA.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Third place. A closeup of the appendages a barnacle uses to guide food into its mouth. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Fourth place. Weevil of the species Phyllobius roboretanus. Csaba Pintér, Keszthely, Hungary.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Fifth place. The brain of a rat, with cell nuclei (cyan), astrocytes ( yellow), and blood vessels (red). Madelyn May, Hano, NH, USA.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Sixth place. Magelonid polychaete worm larva from a plankton sample collected off the south coast of the UK. David Johnston, Southampton General Hospital Biomedical Imaging Unit, Southampton, UK.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Seventh place. Butter daisy. Oleksandr Holovachov, Ekuddsvagen, Sweden.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Eight place: The barbs and tearing hooks in the mouth a vampire moth captured in Russia. Confocal microscopy. Matthew S. Lehnert and Ashley L. Lash, Kent State University at Stark, North Canton, OH, USA.


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Ninth place. Green coneheaded planthopper (Acanalonia conica) nymph with its gears. The planthopper uses these gears in its leg to leap in a blink of an eye. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA.

 


The Alien and Eerie Beauty of the Year's Best Microscopic Photos

Tenth place. The neural activity of the entire brain of a zebrafish larva. Watch the full video here. Philipp Keller, Fernando Amat and Misha Ahrens, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA, USA.