First Prize: Fairy Fly
At 0.2 millimeters long, this fairy-fly wasp may be one of the smallest insects in the world, but its image scored the biggest prize in the 2008 BioScapes contest.
The competition recognizes extraordinary microscope photos of plants, animals, and other life-forms and is sponsored by Olympus America, Inc.
British shutterbug M.I. "Spike" Walker beat out more than 1,500 entrants, in part by capturing the wings' feather-like strands so distinctly. To do so, he used a decades-old microscopy trick in which different colors of light shine on the subject in concentric rings, in this case tracing the fly's edges in brilliant, contrasting tones.
Walker, the other nine contest winners, and 70 honorable mentions will be recognized at San Francisco's Camerawork gallery on December 14, 2008.
Picture by Spike Walker, courtesy 2008 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition