12 Things You'll Wish You'd Never Seen Under a Microscope

If you shrink yourself down to microscopic size, you're suddenly living in a completely alien world. Whatever you're picturing, perhaps based on your experience from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, is way, way off.

At that scale, everything is unimaginable horror. WARNING: THESE PHOTOS ARE UNSETTLING AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED.

#12. A Maggot

At normal size ...

Before we show you the close-up, let's ease you into it with a regular picture. Maggots are already kind of gross.

They're vile little creatures, born into corpses and garbage, and they feed on things that we would rather see buried. But otherwise they're just kind of little squirming lumps. The poor thing looks kind of helpless.

But close up ...

What the hell, nature? No, that's not some high school kid's papier-mache project for biology class. That's a bluebottle fly maggot under an electron microscope.

We're not looking to offend members of any one religion, but we think all of them can agree that this proves God is freaking insane. Why does it have googly eyes? And novelty wax vampire teeth?

#11. Water Flea

At normal size ...

You can't see them.

You find them in freshwater, so if you went swimming in a pond and a bit of water went into your mouth, maybe you swallowed one.

But close up ...

Is ... is that its eyes? Do they blink and spin around? That fake-as-hell image won the 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition and no, "digital imaging" doesn't mean a computer-generated image. These are photographs, and this one was taken by Dr. Jan Michels, a zoologist in Germany who then immediately went insane.

Man, screw that thing. We bet you think you're pretty terrifying, glowing-eye Abyss alien water flea, but you still have that "duuuh" slackjaw thing going on. If you were here right now, we would say it to your stupid flea face, too. And you would cry nine streams of glowing, neon tears that we would then collect in a tiny little bucket to sell to ravers. And you'd be all "duuuuuh."

#10. Ant

At normal size ...

You don't need a picture. There's an ant within 20 feet of you right now. For every one human being on Earth, there are almost 2 million ants.

... Or 10 quadrillion (10,000,000,000,000,000) total. Ever wonder what expression they have on their little faces?

But close up ...

Whoa, that thing is pissed off. That's a bullet ant. Let's try another one ...

We don't know what species that one is, but if we had to guess, it is a species bent on exacting violent revenge upon every child who ever experimented with a magnifying glass on a hot summer day. If Neo were an ant, this is the guy he would have to fight at the end of the movie.

#9. Regular Flea

At normal size ...

These you can see, though you could pretty much mistake one for a speck of dust or a bit of black pepper, until you see it jump off your dog.

But close up ...

Oh, bullshit. That has to be CGI. But if so it's fooled everyone -- it's a colored scanning electron micrograph by Steve Gschmeissner.

It's ... kind of beautiful. Look at that long, flowing hair. Those gigantic eyebrows. The shapely upper torso. Her perfectly sculpted jaw line. Wait a second ...

#8. Chicken Embryo

At normal size ...

But close up ...

Yes, that's real. These are all real. That's an entry in Nikon's photomicroscopy contest, taken by Tomas Pais de Azevedo of Lisbon, Portugal, and it won first place in the "GET THAT SHIT OUT OF HERE, TOMAS. JESUS" category.

How did he get that thing to look right at the camera? And directly into our souls? No, don't look at it any longer than you already have. We're terribly sorry we showed you that. Now it knows all of the horrifying things that you've done in your life, and it will hold it over you until centuries past your exit from the mortal plane.

#7. Watersnipe Fly Larva

At normal size ...

The watersnipe (Atherix ibis) fly lives and lays its eggs around rivers and streams, and again, you'd never spot one of its larva right until it floated into your ear.

But close up ...

That's Fabrice Parais's entry into the 2009 Nikon Small World Photo Micrography Competition. On one hand, that thing looks pretty cheerful. On the other, it's the reason we've been grinding for the last 40 levels to max out our fireball spells and beef up the hit points on our tank. Meanwhile, it's just sitting there, waiting patiently for the next group of adventurers to ignorantly stumble into its intricate maze of tunnels baited with chests full of equipment and gold.

Oh, also -- that's its ass.

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