Images: 'Small World' Photo Contest Winners

Each year, the Nikon Small World contest seeks the most impressive photos taken under the miscroscope. Here's a look at 2014's winning entries, which include a rare shot into the open mouth of a rotifer, a picture of a caterpillar's stubby leg and a photo of a jumping spider's intense gaze. [Read full story on Small World photo winners

1st place

Open wide. This patiently composed shot shows a rotifer — one of the smallest animals in the world — at the moment it opened its tiny mouth. Those hairy edges are actually cilia that sweep water into the creature's maw. (Credit: Rogelio Moreno, Panama)

2nd place

Cleavage apparently isn't just a concern for fashion photographers. A microscopist captured this shot of the so-called "cleavage" of a calcite crystal, after it was broken along a specific plane in the crystal lattice. (Credit: Alessandro Da Mommio, Università di Pisa, Italy)  

3rd place

Jumping spiders might not win an beauty contests, but there's something very expressive about their eyes. The spiky-haired creatures have just as many eyes as they do legs (eight), though this portrait just shows two. (Credit: Noah Fram-Schwartz, Greenwich, Connecticut) 

4th place

Too primitive to be considered a true leg, this puffy stub on a caterpillar is called a proleg. Shown in red are the proleg's little gripping hooks. (Credit: Karin Panser, Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna)

5th place

These stained endothelial cells lined a cow's pulmonary artery, the route that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. The pink shows actin proteins, mitochondria is in green and DNA is in yellow. (Credit: Muthugapatti K. Kandasamy, Biomedical Microscopy Core, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia)

6th place

With hints of "Starry Night," this shot shows fluid swirling around a coral polyp of the species Pocillopora damicornis, also known as the cauliflower coral. (Credit: Douglas Brumley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

7th place

Are Netflix and Hulu making your DVD player obsolete? You could always take it apart and turn it into a microphotography project. This image shows the circuitry in a DVD reader at 100x magnification. (Credit: Dennis Hinks Cleveland, Ohio)

8th place

As their name suggests, brine shrimp love salt. They are found in the world's hypersaline lakes, including Utah's Great Salt Lake. This image shows a common brine shrimp's appendages. (Credit: Igor Robert Siwanowicz, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia)

9th place

The parsley that comes sprinkled on soup looks fascinating under the microscope. In this photo, a parsley ovary has been fixed and stained to show lectins in red and nuclei in blue. (Credit: Meritxell Vendrell, Universitat Autònoma, Barcelona) 

10th place

This fantastical landscape is actually a daisy petal with fungal infection and pollen grains. (Credit: Paul Joseph Rigby, The University of Western Australia)

Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and 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+.