The head of an insect from the Entiminae family, which contains broad-nosed weevils that can be a pest with economic importance.
Image by Mr. Jose R. Almodovar, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez.
Science and Photography
The Wellcome Trust — a London-based medical research charity — has just announced the winners of its 2012 image competition, and they are positively stunning.
1. Moth fly (Psychodidae)
This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph shows a moth fly (Psychodidae), also known as a drain fly. As its name suggests, the fly’s larvae commonly live and grow in domestic drains; the adult fly emerges near sinks, baths and lavatories. The moth flies’ bodies and wings are covered in hairs, which gives them a ‘fuzzy’, moth-like appearance. The fly is 4-5 mm long, and each eye is approximately 100 microns wide.
2. Lavender leaf
This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) shows a lavender leaf (Lavandula) imaged at 200 microns. Lavender, which is native to the Mediterranean region, is an evergreen shrub that grows to about three feet high and has small blue or purple flowers and narrow grey leaves. Lavender yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, which can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics and topical applications. It is also used to aid sleep, to relax and to alleviate anxiety.
3. Xenopus laevis oocytes
This confocal micrograph shows stage V-VI oocytes (800-1000 micron diameter) of an African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), a model organism used in cell and developmental biology research. Each oocyte is surrounded by thousands of follicle cells, shown in the image by staining DNA blue. Blood vessels, which provide oxygen to the oocyte and follicle cells, are shown in red. The ovary of each adult female Xenopus laevis contains up to 20 000 oocytes. Mature oocytes are approximately 1.2 mm in diameter, much larger than the eggs of many other species.
4. Caffeine crystals
This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph shows caffeine crystals. Caffeine is a bitter, crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. In plants, caffeine functions as a defence mechanism. Found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves and fruit of some plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide that paralyses and kills certain insects feeding on the plant. The main crystals of caffeine were 400-500 microns long; however, this crystal group formed on the end of the larger crystal and measures around 40 microns in length.
A Pygmy Marmoset (Callithrix pygmaea) is seen at a primate rescue and rehabilitation center near Santiago August 3, 2010. The Pygmy Marmoset, known as the world’s smallest monkey and under danger of extinction, was confiscated after being found inside the clothes of a Peruvian citizen during a highway police check at the northern city of Antofagasta, some 1367 km (849 miles) of Santiago.
The world’s smallest chameleon. The 29mm reptile is no bigger than the flies an average-sized chameleon would feed on. Scientists discovered four new species - called Brookesia micra - on a small islet just off the main island of Madagascar. This chameleon is now thought to be one of the smallest reptiles on the planet. Ted Townsend of San Diego State University, who carried out the genetic studies, said: “Their size suggests that chameleons might have evolved in Madagascar from small and inconspicuous ancestors, quite unlike the larger and more colourful chameleons most familiar to us today.î The newly discovered chameleons are only found in an area just a few square kilometers in size. Scientists believe they might be especially sensitive to habitat destruction. Picture: BARCROFT MEDIA
Doxycycline, a broad spectrum antibiotic, dissolved in water and coated with gold at 55x magnification. 10th place in the 1979 Nikon Small World Competition.
“The Tooth Worm as Hell’s Demon”, southern France, 18th Century; This artistically designed ivory carving is contained in a molar, 10.5 cm in height, which can be separated into two halves of equal size. It opens out into two scenes depicting the infernal torments of toothache as a battle with the “tooth worm”. The legend of the “tooth worm” as the cause of toothache originated in Mesopotamia around 1800 B.C. A legend, in much the same sense as that of the Creation, concerning the origin of the tooth worm is to be found in the inscriptions on ancient tablets from 1800 B.C., and from the New Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods of 650 and 550 B.C.
Miniature crown made of diatoms and butterfly scales, by someone very patient in 18th century Paris.