A Spectacularly Colorful Shot of an Oak Leaf Tops Nikon’s 2021 Photomicrography Competition

By Jason Kirk, trichome (white appendages) and stomata (purple pores) on a southern live oak leaf. All images coutesy of Nikon Small World, shared with permission

Unless they were under a microscope, it would be difficult to see the shimmery barbs of a louse claw or cracks running through a single piece of table salt. The winning entries of the 47th annual Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition unveil these otherwise imperceptible features, showing the unique textures, colors, and shapes in stunning detail. We’ve chosen some of our favorite images below—these include the crystal-like webbing of a slime mold captured by Allison Pollack (previously), the first-prize winning glimpse of an oak leaf by Jason Kirk, and the kaleidoscopic head of a tick revealed by doctors Tong Zhang and Paul Stoodley—and you can find more from this year’s competition on the contest’s site and Instagram.

 

By Frank Reiser, rear leg, claw, and respiratory trachea of a louse (Haematopinus suis)

By Alison Pollack, slime mold (Arcyria pomiformis)

By Saulius Gugis, table salt crystal

By Martin Kaae Kristiansen, filamentous strands of Nostoc cyanobacteria captured inside a gelatinous matrix

By Sébastien Malo, vein and scales on a butterfly wing (Morpho didius)

By Jan van IJken, water flea (Daphnia) carrying embryos and peritrichs

By Dr. Tong Zhang and Dr. Paul Stoodley, head of a tick

By Oliver Dum, the proboscis of a housefly (Musca domestica)

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