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Microorganisms Are Kinda Gay

All photos: National Geographic News

What do Portuguese man-of-wars, freshwater algae, and protein molecules have in common? At obscene levels of magnification, they kinda look like the afterbirth of a drug-fueled, homosexual sex party co-curated by Bruce Vilanch and the ghost of Liberace. That's right, the results of the 2009 BioScapes microscope imaging contest are in! They reveal a magical, multicolored miniverse that apparently pervades all creation.

Last year's winners looked more like MS-DOS screen-savers and variations on vagina dentata. But, this year the selection committee yielded to the intense lobbying of international zoologists to "go gay!" in search of a broader audience with more disposable income.

Mama nature didn't disappoint. The above is not a colorful ball of vintage yarn required to recreate a 1980s Dior sweater set. It's a picture of protein being created as cells divide taken by biologist Chung-Ju Rachel Wang, of the University of California, Berkeley. And, below, we have not the pink-colored candy necklace to help keep your eyes rolled forward at the White Party in Miami. It's actually the Portuguese man-of-war's venomous tentacles snapped by biologist Alvaro Migotto of Brazil's University of Sao Paulo.

Check out the rest of the winners at National Geographic.

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