The microscopic world is a place of incredible beauty, but its landscape often seems abstract and alien—so much so that you likely can’t guess what the images above actually depict. These are among the winning entries of the 2011 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Contest.
- Green brain coral, Goniastrea sp., with one full polyp (which are genetically identical, multicellular organisms) surrounded by four others.
Their purple skeletons are known as corallites. (James H. Nicholson)
- Rotifer, Floscularia ringens, feeding by beating its cilia (hair-like structures) to pull in water containing food. (Charles Krebs)
- Stink bug eggs, found on top of a mountain near Athens, Greece. The white halos show the lids through which nymphs emerge. (Haris Antonopoulos)
- Prickly scorpion’s tail, a twisted plant pod named for obvious reasons. (Viktor Sykora)
- Bay scallop, Argopecten irradians, and its blueberry-like eyes. (Kathryn R. Markey)