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These Microscopic Videos Will Make Your Skin Crawl In A Good Way

Nikon just announced the winners of their annual "Small World in Motion" photo contest and the results are cool, creepy, cute, and everything else in between.

Posted on December 9, 2015, at 11:01 a.m. ET

Here are the 2015 winners of the Nikon Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition:


Nikon's annual contest is all about capturing microscopic things in gorgeous and moving detail. There were submissions from all over the world, and winners were selected by a panel of scientists and photographers.

First place went to this slow-motion ciliate-on-ciliate attack and the tasty feast that followed:

Mr. Wim van Egmond / Micropolitan Museum

Ciliates are a broad group of single-cells organisms with hair-like features. The photographer, Wim van Egmond, scooped these guys out of a friend's backyard pond and set up his camera when he saw one of the two species get hungry.

Second place went to this horrifically close-up view of a termite's guts:

Danielle Parsons / Wonder Science TV

According to photographer Danielle Parsons, all those little things roiling around in the gut are hundreds of species of single-celled organisms that help the termite break down the wood it eats.

Third place went to this disturbing video of a parasite larva emerging from its moth-host to build a cocoon:

Gonzalo Avila / University of Auckland

Gonzalo Avila made this incredible time-lapse video of a moth parasite breaking out of its host and spinning its cocoon. In real time, this gnarly process takes several hours, Avila said in a press release.


Many of the honorable mentions were just as wild:

Like these nutrient-containing capsules engineered to release their contents when exposed to stomach acid:

Alireza Abbaspourrad / Cornell University

Or this hypnotic view of a mouse hair follicle growing in a culture because science:

Abigail Tucker, Marcia Gaete / King's College London

And this hungry AF rotifer eating ALL THE THINGS:

Ralph Grimm

Here's what happens when you blast some human skin cells with a laser for five nanoseconds, in case you were curious:

Michael Evers / Massachusetts General Hospital

These wiggly things are not spaghetti noodles, they are cyanobacteria filaments magnified 100 times:

Haripriya Mukundarajan, Vivek N. Prakash, Nicolas Harmand, Manu Prakash / Stanford University

This close-up view of soap film is better than your best lava lamp:

John Hart / University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Look at this close and personal look at some penicillium growing up real hard:

Wim van Egmond / Micropolitan Museum

And finally, try not to smile while looking at this oddly-cute water flea swimming its gosh-darn heart out:

Wim van Egmond / Micropolitan Museum