This “image of distinction,” taken by Eugenijus Kavaliauskas, shows the magnified face of an ant. (Eugenijus Kavaliauskas/Nikon Small World)

  • The photo that has people talking most from this year’s Nikon Small World competition isn’t even a finalist.
  • The creepy image, which shows the magnified face of an ant, is making its rounds on the internet just in time for Halloween.
  • The Nikon Small World competition celebrates photography taken through a microscope.

T​he Nikon Small World 2022 competition announced its winners in September, but recently one of the images from the contest has the internet freaked out, just in time for Halloween.

Eugenijus Kavaliauskas’ close-up photo of an ant’s face has the internet talking, and was listed as one of the 57 “Images of Distinction” in the contest. The monstrous appearance became apparent when the specimen was magnified five times.

“​There are no horrors in nature,” Kavaliauskas said of the image, though many in the comments on social media disagree.

T​he first place prize went to Grigorii Timin for his image of the hand of a Madagascar giant day gecko embryo.

“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,” Timin said.

C​oming in at second place was Dr. Caleb Dawson’s image of breast tissue displaying contractile myoepithelial cells wrapped around lactating alveoli, which were dyed with fluorescent colors and magnified.

T​hird place went to Satu Paavonsalo and Dr. Sinem Karama who captured blood vessel networks in an adult mouse’s intestine.

This year marks the photo competition’s 48th year. Nikon Small World celebrates the art of photomicrography, or photography through a microscope. This year’s competition received nearly 1,300 entries from 72 countries.

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