Winners of 2014’s Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition have been announced. Each year the competition celebrates astonishing images from the natural world as seen under microscopic magnification.

This year, researchers and microscope enthusiasts from 71 countries submitted over 2,100 still images and videos, making this the biggest BioScapes competition to date, in terms of numbers and international entrants.

The winning entry is a sequence showing multiple views of fruit fly (Drosophila) embryonic development by Dr William Lemon, Mr Fernando Amat and Dr Philipp Keller from HHMI Janelia Research Campus in Virginia, USA.

The embryo was recorded in 30-second intervals over a period of 24 hours, starting three hours after the eggs had been laid. The video may help reveal cell lineages, cell differentiation and whole-embryo morphogenesis; essential aspects of developmental biology. The newly hatched larva begins to crawl off screen at the end of the video.

Rat brain cerebellum

The runner-up image is the cerebellum of a rat’s brain by Thomas Deerinck, from the University of California in San Diego, USA.

Barnacle appendages

In third place are barnacle appendages that sweep plankton, and other food, into the shell for consumption; from last year’s winner, neurobiologist Igor Siwanowicz.

Weevils

Weevils (Phyllobius roboretanus) by Csaba Pintér of Hungary took fourth place.

Rat brain cerebral cortex

Madelyn May from New Hampshire, USA, received fifth prize for her study of a rat brain cerebral cortex depicting cell nuclei (cyan), astrocytes (yellow) and blood vessels (red).

Mosquito pupae

Receiving an honourable mention is this image of two mosquito pupae using differential interference contrast and image stacking by Jerzy Rojkowski, Krakow, Poland.

Shepherd's purse seed pod

Edwin Lee from Texas, USA received an honourable mention for his shepherd's purse (Capsella bursepastoris) seed pod. The pod was treated in a lye-water solution to render the outer wall nearly transparent.

Jumping spider

This epi-illumination of a spider jumping by Francis Prior of Liverpool, UK also received an honourable mention.

To see the full list of winners and their entries visit the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging competition.