- Some of the photos in the 2019 cohort showcase spiders, lice, larvae, and fish skeletons in rarely seen detail.
- Here are the creepiest microscope photos from this year's contest.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .
Most days, we don't think about the tiny world bustling right under our noses.
Small organisms live out their lives, catching prey, laying eggs, and doing their best to survive. Usually, we can't see any of this.
But skilled photographers can use microscopes to reveal the hidden and sometimes disturbing world beyond what the eye can see. To celebrate that microscopic mastery, the Nikon Small World contest has awarded the best photographs taken through a microscope each year for decades .
For the 45th year of the contest, four judges reviewed more than 2,000 pictures submitted from nearly 100 countries. A little more than 100 photos stood out from the pack. Some of them capture the beauty of tiny flowers or reveal the complex, dazzling patterns behind something as simple as a water droplet.
Others reveal up close the creepies and crawlies that lurk below the surfaces of lakes and in the corners of your home.
Here are the 13 creepiest microscopic photos of 2019.
Spiders strike many people as creepy when seen with the naked eye. Under a microscope, the effect is far more dramatic.
Antoine Franck/Nikon Small World
This photo a female lynx spider took 14th place in the Nikon contest.
Even fewer people are cool with lice especially when they cling to strands of hair, as this one is.
Walter Ferrari/Nikon Small World
Head lice feed on blood from the human scalp. (Feeling itchy yet?)
Outi Paloheimo/Nikon Small World
Another common pest the biting house fly looks downright alien under a microscope.
zgr Kerem Bulur/Nikon Small World
One day, these orb-shaped egg chambers will sprout fully formed fruit flies ready to haunt your kitchen and your dreams.
Dr. Jasmin Imran Alsous and Dr. Stanislav Y. Shvartsman/Nikon Small World
This is what the silverfish that you might find in your bathroom look like up close. If one of those antennae falls off, the insect can grow it back.
Marco Jongsma/Nikon Small World
Underwater creatures can be even creepier under the microscope. This sea-dwelling eunicid worm has five antennae.
Dr. Ekin Tilic/Nikon Small World
This fluorescent skeleton of a fangtooth fish is the stuff of nightmares.
Dr. Leo Smith/Nikon Small World
The skull of a longnose gar fish looks straight out of Beetlejuice.
Dr. Leo Smith/Nikon Small World
Even the name of the phantom midge makes it seem spooky. This creature (the photo below shows its larva), is also known as a glassworm and lives in lakes all over the world. Its claw-like appendage unfurls to catch tiny prey.
Christopher Algar/Nikon Small World
Baby dung beetles aren't so cute, either. One day, the compact wrinkles in this embryo will become spiky black legs and a pair of long horns.
Dr. Eduardo E. Zattara/Nikon Small World
Spider legs, meanwhile, look quite hairy up close. White hairs on this tiny spider surround multiple pairs of black eyes.
Javier Ruprez/Nikon Small World
This photo took sixth place in Nikon's contest.
But bugs and other tiny creatures aren't the only beings that look creepy up close. These tangled fibers are human neurons; you have billions of them inside your brain.
Jianqun Gao/Nikon Small World
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