A magnified look at the magnificently tiny

Photographic competition reveals the beauty of water fleas, sand grains and mosquito larvae up close

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The Independent Culture

This year’s winners of the Nikon International Small World competition were revealed yesterday, with first prize going to Dr Igor Siwanowicz for his picture of a green lacewing insect.

The photograph, taken at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany, shows the turquoise blue underbelly of the lacewing, an insect of the Chrysopidae family which typically measures about half an inch.

Second place went to Dr Donna Stolz, from the University of Pittsburgh in the US, for her magnified photograph of a blade of grass.

Other pictures show the delicate skeleton of a leaf, toxic-looking purple and blue cancer cells and the surprisingly elephantine shape of a freshwater flea.

Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through a microscope.

Nikon has rewarded the world's best photomicrographers for the last 30 years.

Click here or on the image to see the 20 winners