13 creepy photos of the microscopic world around us that will make your skin crawl
- The Nikon Small World contest highlights the best microscope images taken each year.
- Some of the photos in the 2019 cohort showcase spiders, lice, larvae, and fish skeletons in rarely seen detail.
- Here are the creepiest microscope photos from this year's contest.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Most days, we don't think about the tiny world bustling right under our noses.Small organisms live out their lives, catching prey, laying eggs, and doing their best to survive. Usually, we can't see any of this.Advertisement
But skilled photographers can use microscopes to reveal the hidden - and sometimes disturbing - world beyond what the eye can see. To celebrate that microscopic mastery, the Nikon Small World contest has awarded the best photographs taken through a microscope each year for decades.
Others reveal up close the creepies and crawlies that lurk below the surfaces of lakes and in the corners of your home.Here are the 13 creepiest microscopic photos of 2019.
Spiders strike many people as creepy when seen with the naked eye. Under a microscope, the effect is far more dramatic.
Even fewer people are cool with lice — especially when they cling to strands of hair, as this one is.Advertisement
Head lice feed on blood from the human scalp. (Feeling itchy yet?)
Another common pest — the biting house fly — looks downright alien under a microscope.Advertisement
One day, these orb-shaped egg chambers will sprout fully formed fruit flies ready to haunt your kitchen and your dreams.
This is what the silverfish that you might find in your bathroom look like up close. If one of those antennae falls off, the insect can grow it back.Advertisement
Underwater creatures can be even creepier under the microscope. This sea-dwelling eunicid worm has five antennae.
This fluorescent skeleton of a fangtooth fish is the stuff of nightmares.Advertisement
The skull of a longnose gar fish looks straight out of Beetlejuice.
Even the name of the phantom midge makes it seem spooky. This creature (the photo below shows its larva), is also known as a glassworm and lives in lakes all over the world. Its claw-like appendage unfurls to catch tiny prey.Advertisement
Baby dung beetles aren't so cute, either. One day, the compact wrinkles in this embryo will become spiky black legs and a pair of long horns.
Spider legs, meanwhile, look quite hairy up close. White hairs on this tiny spider surround multiple pairs of black eyes.Advertisement
But bugs and other tiny creatures aren't the only beings that look creepy up close. These tangled fibers are human neurons; you have billions of them inside your brain.
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