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Award-Winning Microscope Images

Top prize

(Image credit: Ralph Grimm, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

The top prize in the 2012 Olympus BioScapes competition went to Ralph Grimm, a teacher from the Australian town of Jimboomba, just south of Brisbane, for his 58-second video of tiny animals called rotifers on a lily leaf in his pond. This still from Grimm's footage shows the creatures' trembling cilia, internal organs and eyes, which look like red dots.

Red alga

(Image credit: Arlene Wechezak, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

Arlene Wechezak of Anacortes, Wash., took second place with her up-close image of branching red alga, showing the tiny plant's reproductive tetraspores and golden diatoms.

Spectacular spore factory

(Image credit: Igor Siwanowicz, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

Third prize went to Igor Siwanowicz, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm research campus in Virginia, for his colorful shot of spore-filled sporangia on a fern (Polypodium virginianum).

Tiny crustacean claw

(Image credit: Christian Sardet and Sharif Mirshak, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

This image of a translucent claw of a pram bug, with muscles and rows of pigment cells visible, earned fourth prize.

Single-cell wonder

(Image credit: Rogelio Moreno Gill, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

This picture is actually made up of 22 stacked images of the unicellular green alga Micrasterias taken from a lake sample. It came in 5th place.

Coral mouth

(Image credit: James Nicholson, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

This 6th prize image offers a glimpse into the mouth of a live mushroom coral (Fungia sp.) as it expands.

Fly brain

(Image credit: Christian Klämbt and Imke Schmidt, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

The image shows the brain of a fruit fly larva with eye discs attached. It took 7th place.

Up-close deadnettle

(Image credit: Edwin Lee, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

The 8th-prize shot shows the stamens anthers and filaments on a type of deadnettle.

Flower seed

(Image credit: Sahar Khodaverdi, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

Striking in itself, this Delphinium seed gives rise to beautiful flowers. This image nabbed the 9th prize.

Butterfly scales

(Image credit: Charles Krebs, Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition® )

The wing scales of a Prola Beauty butterfly are showcased in this microscopic 10th-place image.

Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.