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Images of the month: October 2014

Pictures from the world of science, selected by Nature’s art team.


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Stars explode, wonders of all sorts rise from the ocean depths, and photo competitions supply breathtaking images galore for this month's Nature image selection.

Secrets from the deep

Brett Seymour/ARGO

In a mission that saw the first archaeological use of the Exosuit, divers recovered more treasures — including a huge spear, a jug and a bronze rigging ring — from the ancient shipwreck that gave the world the Antikythera Mechanism (see 'Famed Antikythera wreck yields more treasures'). 

Spineless but spirited

Susan Middleton, 2014

Move over sharks and dolphins — photographer Susan Middleton has put marine invertebrates such as this widehand hermit crab (Elassochirus tenuimanus) centre stage in the new book Spineless, dedicated to “the little things that run the world”.

Japan’s volcano tragedy

Kyodo News/AP

Despite Japan’s experience with early-warning systems for earthquakes, there was no early eruption warning for the many hikers who were walking around Mount Ontake on 27 September. When the volcano erupted, 57 were killed (see 'Why Japan missed volcano's warning signs').

Death throes of a star

Ken Chen

A still taken from a simulation of the explosion of a massive primordial star. The work suggests that a star about 55,000 times more massive than the Sun would have blown itself apart, leaving no remnant behind1, rather than collapsing into a black hole as astrophysicists have traditionally assumed.

Still a small world

  1. The Nikon Small World prize, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, still amazes with sights beyond the paltry limits of our own vision — such as this microscopic structure of the carapace of a jewel beetle (Chrysochroa buqueti).

    Charles Krebs/Courtesy of Nikon Small World

  2. This image of the eyes of a jumping spider, shot by Noah Fram-Schwartz of Greenwich, Connecticut, earned third place in the Nikon competition.

    Noah Fram-Schwartz/Courtesy of Nikon Small World

  3. Evan Darling, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, took home an honourable mention for this picture of a rat embryo, labelled with a fluorescent dye.

    Evan Darling, RIT/Courtesy of Nikon Small World

  4. Michael John Bridge, a cell-imaging researcher at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, created this view of a root ganglia neuron (taken from from a chicken embryo). It was deemed an image of distinction.

    Michael John Bridge, Univ. Utah School of Medicine/Courtesy of Nikon Small World

  5. This shot of the fluid flow around a polyp of cauliflower coral (Pocillopora damicornis), coloured with fluorescent dyes, earned sixth place for Douglas Brumley, a biomechanics researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

    Douglas Brumley, MIT/Courtesy of Nikon Small World

  6. This image of a leafy liverwort (Nowellia curvifolia) was created using software that patches together many different shots. It earned an honourable mention for Magdalena Turzańska, a technician at the University of Wrocław in Poland.

    Magdalena Turzanska, Univ. Wroclaw/Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Life through a lens

  1. Meanwhile, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition turned 50. This year's winner was this picture of a pride of five female lions in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, by US photographer Michael 'Nick' Nichols. Three were later put down after they strayed outside the park boundaries.

    Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

  2. Russian-American Alexander Badyaev won the Mammals category with this shot, which shows a deer mouse (Peromyscus sp.) exploring a mushroom in western Montana's Blackfoot Valley, together with a mosquito.

    Alex Badyaev/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

  3. A teenager in Tunisia is offering to sell this fennec fox (Vulpes zerda), which he illegally dug out of its litter's den in the Sahara Desert. It was photographed by Italy's Bruno D'Amicis and won the World in Our Hands category.

    Bruno D'Amicis/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

  4. Brazil's Ary Bassous found this old termite mound taken over by the flashing bioluminescent larvae of click beetles in Emas National Park. His 30-second exposure took first place in the Invertebrates category.

    Ary Bassous/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

  5. Dead after a long struggle with a fisherman's hook, this young great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) was found off the Pacific coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. This black-and-white photo by Rodrigo Friscione Wyssmann was a World in Our Hands finalist.

    Rodrigo Friscione Wyssmann/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

  6. Tim Laman, from the United States, won the Portfolio Award for his role in a 10-year project to photograph each of the 39 species of birds of paradise. This shot was taken in the rainforest of Wokam Island, Indonesia.

    Tim Laman/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014

Opulent oceans

  1. New York's American Museum of Natural History has selected some of the most glorious illustrations from its collection of rare books and reprinted them in Opulent Oceans, out this month. Among them are these barnacles from Charles Darwin's monograph Living Cirripedia.

    Reprinted from Opulent Oceans, © 2013 AMNH, Sterling Publishing

  2. A land crab (Gecarcinus ruricola) drawn by British naturalist Mark Catesby, who explored the New World in the first half of the eighteenth century.

    Reprinted from Opulent Oceans, © 2013 AMNH, Sterling Publishing

  3. German engraver Fritz Winter, who joined an oceanographic expedition on the Valdivia steamship in 1898, illustrated this Antarctic octopus (Benthoctopus levis).

    Reprinted from Opulent Oceans, © 2013 AMNH, Sterling Publishing

Journal name:



An earlier version of this article had an incorrect name for Ary Bassous.


  1. Chen, K.-J. et al. Astrophys. J. 790, 162 (2014).

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