A Microscopic Hunt Wins First Prize

The annual Nikon photomicrography competition features some fascinating films.

Wim van Egmond

A brutal, vicious attack caught on film served as the winner of the 2015 Nikon Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition.

The “attack” was a brief battle between microorganisms, in which a Trachelius ciliate gobbled up a Campanella ciliate, magnified 250x for our viewing pleasure:

The single-celled Campanella clearly didn’t stand a chance against the predatory ways of the larger Trachelius—but while the struggle was short it was more than long enough to secure Nikon’s first prize for Wim van Egmond, an experienced photomicrographer from the Netherlands. According to the Nikon Small World website, van Egmond had already scooped his film subjects from a pond, hoping to show them to someone else using a microscope. However, while viewing the critters he realized an attack was imminent—and was able to record the ciliate hunt in real time.

Created to help raise interest in the use of a light microscope to view life at its minutest, the Nikon Small World in Motion competition is open to anyone, with videos using time-lapse photography taken through a microscope acceptable for entry.

The 2015 runner-up was Danielle Parsons of Los Angeles, who submitted this video of the gut contents of a termite…

…while third place went to Gonzalo Avila of Auckland, New Zealand, who caught this parasitoid larva escaping from its host and then spinning a cocoon in order to enter pupation:

For more videos, including entries from previous years, visit