The humped bladderwort is a carnivorous plant that lives in freshwater. Here, 100x magnification shows the entrance to the protein-digesting plant.

“The bladderwort’s trap is one of the most, if not the most, sophisticated plant organs in existence,” Nikon said.

The photographer, Igor Siwanowicz, is a research specialist at the Janelia Research Campus of the Hughes Medical Institute. He’s currently working on the steering circuit of a dragonfly.

“He thinks the relationship between science and art is best described in words of the French philosopher of science Jules Henri Poincare,” Nikon said. “‘The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.'”

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Eye-popping winning pictures from Nikon's Small World contest