Mini, but mighty: These Close Up Photographer of the Year winners deserve a big round of applause

Mini, but mighty: These Close Up Photographer of the Year winners deserve a big round of applause

The winners of this year’s Close-up Photographer of the Year have recently been announced, and there are some truly stunning images with interesting stories behind them.

The overall winner was photographed by Samantha Stephens, for her image of a pair of salamanders that had fallen victim to a carnivorous plant.

“Northern houseplants usually feast on moths and flies, but researchers recently discovered a surprising new item on the plant’s menu: juvenile spotted salamanders,” says Samantha.

“While accompanying scientists on their daily investigations, I saw a pitcher with two salamanders floating on the surface of the pitcher’s liquid, both at the same stage of decay. I knew it was a special and fleeting moment.”

We’ve picked our favorites from the top three in each category, including amazing snakes, slime molds and creepy parasitic worms.

The Close-up Photographer of the Year is a celebration of close-up, macro and micro photography, and is open to amateurs and professionals from around the world.

Winner of animal category and overall winner

Two lizard creatures that look like aliens inside an eye shape

Two juvenile spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) has been devoured by a northern pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea), a type of carnivorous plant. These salamanders have already begun to decay at the base of the plant’s bell-shaped leaves. Photo by Samantha Stephens/CUPOTY

Winner of underwater category

Small predator on seaweed underwater

This is a stalked jellyfish (Lucernaria quadricornis), hiding in the icy waters of the White Sea, Russia. The green algae that surround it indicate that spring is on its way. Photo by Viktor Lyagushkin/CUPOTY

Man-made category winner

three drops of oil look like face

This macro shot was taken as two drops of oil merged, and the image resembles a very bright face. Photo by Matt Vacca/CUPOTY

Winner of the mushroom category

Mushrooms encased in ice bubbles

Some mature slime molds, identified as Comatricha, growing on an old rotten fence post. These forms have been encased in ice during the freezing night. The largest slime mold in this image is still only 3mm tall. Photo by Barry Webb/CUPOTY

Winner of the butterflies category

Butterfly wings covered in dew

A dewy male demoiselle with ribbon (Calopteryx splendens) resting on a reed trunk, early in the morning in Ede, the Netherlands. Photo by Wim Vooijs/CUPOTY

Young category winner

a line of yellow slime forms on the branch

Fruit bodies of slime molds (Hemitrichia calyculata), photographed on rotten wood. Photo by Nathan Benstead/CUPOTY

Winner of the plant category

a flower hanging in the distance

Snakehead fritillary flower (Fritillaria meleagris), taken in the city of Toulouse, France. Photo by Sebastien Blomme/CIPOTY

Winner of micro category

Fury green algae on black background

A type of red algae (Batrachospermum) taken from a small river in Wigry National Park, Poland, and photographed under a microscope. Photo by Marek Miś

Invert portrait category winner

Black and brown spider close-up

This triangular spider species (Arkys curtulus) is an ambush predator, not a web-based hunter like most other spider species. To hunt its prey, it sits compactly and curled up on a leaf, imitating bird droppings. Photo by Jamie Hall/CUPOTY

Winner of the intimate landscape category

ripples of water close-up

A building is reflected in the water of a nearby water feature, at Canary Wharf, London, UK. Photo by Mike Curry/CUPOTY

Winner of the insects category

many insects on the run at night

A swarm of termites flies around a light near a petrol pump in Cooch Behar, India, but unfortunately a drongo (a small bird) comes in and easily eats them. Photo by Anirban DuttaIntruder/CUPOTY

More photos from Science focus:

Mushroom category number two

Mushroom cap among spider webs

A scarlet wax cap slime mold, photographed in November 2021 in Ebernoe Woods, UK. Dew covers the slime mold, as well as surrounding spider webs, in this eerie image. Photo by Jeremy Lintott/CUPOTY

Underwater category number two

pink fish resting on mussels

A blue-spotted rockfish (Pavoclinus caeruleopunctatus) resting on top of some Mediterranean mussels, an invasive species in the waters of Steenbras Deep, False Bay, South Africa, where this photo was taken. Photo Kate Jonker/CUPOTY

Reverse portrait category number two

Brown worm curled up in a ball

This Gordian worm (Nematomorpha) is a parasitic beast that has just emerged from inside a hunting spider, in the rainforest stream of Australia’s Sunshine Coast. These worms lay their eggs in water, and if an insect is unfortunate enough to consume an egg when drinking, they will soon find such a worm growing inside them. Photo by Ben Revell/CUPOTY

Animal category third place

Snake moves through brown sand

A Sahara sand viper (Cerastes vipera) make their way across the dunes of the Negev desert, Israel, before getting into a good position to catch prey. Photo by Paul Lennart Schmid/CUPOTY

Butterfly category third place

Damselfly rests on a flower

A regular winter pond selfie (Sympecma fusca) rests on the tip of a blade of grass, in this photo taken in Fribourg, Switzerland. Photo by Kai Rosler/CUPOTY

Intimate landscape category third place

Close-up of sea fan

Close-up of a sea fan, photographed in the waters of Aruba. Photo by Angelo Richardson/CUPOTY

Micro category third place

Close-up of bright red flower

This incredible moss, identified as Schistidium, is only approx. 1 mm wide at the head, where you can see what are known as peristome teeth. These teeth are common in mosses and allow them to release spores gradually. This was photographed in Ulleråker, Sweden, in the photographer’s front room. Photo Harald Cederlund/CUPOTY

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