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Photograph: Nikon Small World / Dr. Eugenijus Kavaliauskas

These freaky, award-winning bug shots are scarier than any Halloween costume

The Nikon Small World awards showcase the year’s best zoomed-in photography – including some intense insects

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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What the heck is that, you ask? And no, it ain’t a still from an upcoming live-action remake of A Bug’s Life. That’s a real close-up shot of an ant, which, we’re sure you’ll agree, looks freaking terrifying. And there are billions of them, all around you. Sleep well!

That incredibly zoomed-in perspective is showcased at the Nikon Small World awards, which aren’t about normal photography but photomicrography – meaning that the pictures are taken through a microscope. It’s a great way of seeing everyday critters like moths, flies, ants and spiders like you’ve never seen them before.

But the 2022 edition of the Nikon Small World awards didn’t just focus on insect shots. Also featuring amongst this year’s winners were things like algae, particles, geckos and human colons.

You can take a peek at all the winners of the Nikon Small World awards here but, in the meantime, below are a few of our favourites – starting with the bugs.

‘Long-bodied cellar/daddy long-legs spider’ by Dr Andrew Posselt

Long-bodied cellar/daddy long-legs spider
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Dr Andrew Posselt

‘A fly under the chin of a tiger beetle’ by Murat Öztürk

A fly under the chin of a tiger beetle
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Murat Öztürk

‘Bold jumping spider’ by Dr Andrew Posselt

Bold jumping spider
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Dr Andrew Posselt

‘Red speckled jewel beetle’ by Yousef Al Habshi

Red speckled jewel beetle
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Yousef Al Habshi

‘Transgenic axolotl showing components of the nervous system’ by Dr Marko Pende

Transgenic axolotl showing components of the nervous system.
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Dr Marko Pende

‘Autofluorescence of a single coral polyp’ by Brett M Lewis

Autofluorescence of a single coral polyp
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Brett M Lewis

‘Breast tissue showing contractile myoepithelial cells wrapped around milk-producing alveoli’ by Caleb Dawson

Breast tissue showing contractile myoepithelial cells wrapped around milk-producing alveoli
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Caleb Dawson

‘Larva of an anemone, found in marine plankton’ by Wim van Egmond

Larva of an anemone found in marine plankton
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Wim van Egmond

‘Embryonic hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko’ by Grigorii Timin and Dr Michel Milinkovitch

Embryonic hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko
Photograph: Nikon Small World / Grigorii Timin and Dr Michel Milinkovitch

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