No, this photo doesn’t portray one of the new creatures on HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” or an outtake from a horror movie. It’s an award-winning close-up photo of … an ant.
The eye-popping photo is one of 57 Images of Distinction in Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition. The terrifying portrait was captured by Eugenijus Kavaliauskas, a Lithuanian photographer.
This is the 48th year of the competition, which seeks to “recognize excellence in photography through the microscope,” according to a news release shared with CNN.
The 2022 contest received almost 1,300 entries from 72 countries, according to Nikon.
Kavaliauskas previously worked as a bird photographer before pivoting to insects, according to his website. He used reflected light to capture the shocking ant close-up, complete with what seems to be an angry expression.
Although the image received a viral welcome on the internet, Kavaliauskas didn’t receive the top prize in the competition. That honor went to Swedish photographers Grigorii Timin and Michel Milinkovitch, who produced a beautiful fluorescent image of the front paw of a Madagascar giant day gecko’s embryo. They used 63x magnification to document the hand’s tiny veins and bones.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the ant's face.