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Watch the Beautiful 'Death Throes' of a Single-Celled Organism

On a microscopic level, there’s an entire world of life that is totally invisible to us—and not a very friendly one at that.
December 13, 2015, 8:00pm
Image: Wim van Egmond.

In the world of microscopic organisms, the phrase "eat or be eaten" still applies.

One episode of this miniature world captured recently shows the dying throes of a single-celled organism called a ciliate, as it is devoured by a larger predator called a Trachelius ciliate. The hunt is grotesque and fascinating—not dissimilar to watching predators hunt in the human-sized world.

The video, filmed by Wim van Egmond of the Micropolitan Museum in the Netherlands using a technique called differential interference contrast, won first place in Nikon's Small World in Motion Photomicrography competition.

"Wildlife is so close to us, yet most of us never look close enough to see it," van Egmond said in a statement. "A pool in your garden is actually a miniature underwater jungle teeming with life. If you want to see the world, your backyard is a great place to start."