A tool called a confocal microscope, plus dye stains, captured the biological details of this gecko hand. Grigorii Timin & Michel Milinkovitch/Nikon's Small World Photomicrography Contest
Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition celebrates the beauty of what we cannot see—unless we have the help of extreme magnification. The contest, which has been running for nearly 50 years, is open to anyone with an eye for the minuscule and a microscope. This year’s winning images include moth eggs stacked in a column, a hump of slime mold, and a slice of crystallized dinosaur bone.
The first-place photo (above) is the foot of an embryonic lizard—Phelsuma grandi, a Madagascar giant day gecko—created by Grigorii Timin at the University of Geneva under the supervision of biologist Michel Milinkovitch. Hundreds of images, representing 200 gigabytes of data, were stitched together to show nerves (in cyan), bones, blood cells, and other tissues. Even though the foot is only about 3 millimeters long, acquiring all those images took more than two days, Timin said in a news release.