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Terrifying close-up of an ant’s face gives horror movie monsters a run for their money

It turns out that zooming in on an ant’s face is an absolute nightmare.

A close-up photograph of an ant was sent in as a submission to the 48th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition – and the results are freaky.

The tight shot of the tiny insect, captured by Dr. Eugenijus Kavaliauskas of Taurage, Lithuania, shows the ant’s beady red eyes, angry expression and what appears to be long, sharp teeth.

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Kavaliauskas captured this photo of the ant by using reflected light with 5X objective lens magnification, according to the competition.

A close-up of an ant's face as captured by Dr. Eugenijus Kavaliauskas of Taurage, Lithuania - a submission to Nikon's Small World Competition.

A close-up of an ant’s face as captured by Dr. Eugenijus Kavaliauskas of Taurage, Lithuania – a submission to Nikon’s Small World Competition.
(Nikon Small World / Eugenijus Kavaliauskas)

The photo has the internet – well, freaking out over what could replace a monster in a horror film.

Check out some of the reactions to the image.

Yet the intricate snapshot that has stirred up so much conversation and shock on social media didn’t place in the Small World competition.

Instead, Nikon’s first-place winner, Grigorii Timin and Dr. Michel Milinkovitch of the University of Geneva, presented a detailed photo of the embryonic hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko – showing the complete internal structure in vibrant color.

This is what took top prize.

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“Masterfully blending imaging technology and artistic creativity, Timin utilized high-resolution microscopy and image-stitching to capture this species of Phelsuma grandis day gecko,” Nikon said in a press release.

Embryonic hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko (Phelsuma grandis) as captured by Grigorii Timin and Dr. Michel Milinkovitch of the University of Geneva in Switzerland.  This was the first-place winner in a 48th annual Nikon Small World Competition.

Embryonic hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko (Phelsuma grandis) as captured by Grigorii Timin and Dr. Michel Milinkovitch of the University of Geneva in Switzerland. This was the first-place winner in a 48th annual Nikon Small World Competition.
(Nikon Small World / Grigorii Timin and Dr. Michel Milinkovitch)

“[With] a visually stunning and painstaking technique, Timin used image-stitching to merge hundreds of images together to create the final image of his gecko. “

Timin commented, “This particular image is beautiful and informative, as an overview and also when you magnify it in a certain region, shedding light on how the structures are organized on a cellular level,” according to the news release.

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Other top 20 submissions included photos of an agatized dinosaur bone, a fluorescent close-up of a tiger beetle holding a fly, cross-sections of a human colon – and a daddy-long-legs spider with what looks like an adorable little face.

The Nikon Small World competition has been showcasing “photography under the microscope” ever since 1974.

Contest judges analyzed entries from all around the world.

Entries were evaluated on originality, informational content, technical proficiency and visual impact, according to Nikon.

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The 2022 competition received nearly 1,300 entries from 72 different countries.

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