10 incredible images of the tiny world around us

These are the winners of Nikon's 'Small World' competition.

There are plenty of large, incredible things in this world, from canyons to oceans and huge fossils left behind by dinosaurs. But most of the things that make up our wide world are small--tiny even. Often, these things escape notice because they are simply to small for the human eye to see. Which is where Nikon's annual Small World competition comes in. Every year a panel of judges selects the most stunning images of very small things. Often, the people who capture these images are scientists, who come across these stunning images in the course of their daily work. Nikon received over 2,000 submissions from 83 countries for this year's competition.

First Place: Bee Eye

First Place: Bee Eye

Winner Ralph Claus Grimm is a high school science teacher and beekeeper in Australia. He took this image of a honeybee's eye flecked with yellow pollen. Honeybees are currently in crisis and countries around the world are coming up with inventive solutions to help save the bees.Ralph Claus Grimm
Second Place: Mouse Colon

Second Place: Mouse Colon

Gut microbes are of increasing interest to scientists, who are finding that the microbes who live inside us play an outsized role in our health. This is an image of a mouse colon colonized with human gut microbes.Kristen Earle, Gabriel Billings, KC Huang & Justin Sonnenburg
Third Place: Bladderwort

Third Place: Bladderwort

Open wide! This is the intake, or entrance to the interior of a bladderwort, a carnivorous freshwater plant. The plant sucks prey into its trap, where it becomes a tasty meal. But don't worry, it isn't Audrey II. This little guy is less than 2 millimeters long.Igor Siwanowicz
Fourth Place: Mammary Gland

Fourth Place: Mammary Gland

The pink blob in this image is a lab-grown human mammary gland organoid. Researchers have grown breast tissue in the lab to better understand how cancer forms, and also how mammary glands originated.Daniel H. Miller & Ethan S. Sokol
Fifth Place: Brain Tumor

Fifth Place: Brain Tumor

Researchers imaged this picture of a growing glioblastoma (brain tumor) in a mouse. The red 'netting' surrounding the tumor is part of the mouse's vascular (blood supply) system.Giorgio Seano & Rakesh K. Jain
Sixth Place: Moss

Sixth Place: Moss

The spore capsule on a tiny bit of moss.Henri Koskinen
Seventh Place: Starfish

Seventh Place: Starfish

This image of a starfish has been enlarged 10 times under a microscope.Evan Darling
Eighth Place: Mouse Ear

Eighth Place: Mouse Ear

The ear of a mouse is an incredibly soft and delicate thing. In this magnified image you can see the nerve and blood vessels going through the ear.Tomoko Yamazaki
Ninth Place: Flower Buds

Ninth Place: Flower Buds

These aren't buds you'd want to put in a vase, but they are the very beginning of life for a flowering plant called Arabidopsis, which is related to cabbage and mustard. This image was taken at 40x magnification.Nathanael Prunet
Tenth Place: Clam Shrimp

Tenth Place: Clam Shrimp

A live clam shrimp photographs beautifully when prepared for its close-up.Ian Gardiner