The world in miniature: Psychedelic photos reveal life under the microscope

The winners of this year’s Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition have been revealed as the camera-maker displays the glorious entries which have made the top 20.

First place was awarded to an image of a turtle embryo, adorably presented in an array of florescent colours at five times magnification by Teresa Zgoda, a microscopy technician, and Teresa Kugler, a recent university graduate from New York.

A single-cell freshwater protozoan swooped into second place with a 40x magnified image of three cone-shaped organisms submitted by Dr Igor Siwanowicz in Virginia, US.

Other beauties to grace the top spots included a delicate cross section of an alligator embryo – in which the animal’s central nervous system and skeleton can be seen developing – magnified 10x. 

And a male mosquito with a fan-like splay of hair off its antennae displayed towards the camera as it was pointed down a microsope.   

The Nikon Small World competition is now in its 45th year and more than 2,000 submissions from over 100 countries were judged by four panellists.

Photomicrography is the photography of objects under a microscope. Biological subjects may be killed and dyed so that their structure can be seen if being mounted on a glass slide for photographing using ordinary light microscopes.

Alternatively living, unstained specimens can be photographed using ultraviolet, infrared, electron, or X-ray microscopes.