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Award-Winning Microscope Images

Top prize

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

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.