One approach to understanding the brain is to reconstruct the shapes and connections of individual neurons.
A group of 14 stink bug eggs attached to the underside of a poplar leaf.
An intricate three-dimensional network of blood vessels nourishes the heart.
Sponges feed themselves through chambers of specialized cells.
The golden birdwing provided a striking clue to the natural origin of species.
The developing brain needs a constant source of new cells as it builds the circuits that will control behavior.
Many animals have a third eyelid called a nictitating membrane that protects the eye.
The eye of a chimpanzee views the world in living color.
The young starlet sea anemone forms tentacles by cell division, migration, and shape changes.
The fins of the scalyhead sculpin are related to our arms.
Tiktaalik roseae, also known as the “fishapod,” is an animal that lived about 375 million years ago, with features of fish and four-legged animals.
The Cape Cliff lizard sports a bony body armor.
The shape of our hands comes from tree-dwelling ancestors.
... but that's not all they'll do. Several genes determine the diverse shapes and functions of crustacean appendages.
Female peacock spiders stay with their young in an egg sac until they can fend for themselves.
Infant lemurs hitch a ride through the forest by holding on to their mother’s tummy or riding piggyback.
Chromosomes change form as a cell divides to ensure that each daughter cell gets a full, intact copy of the genome.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is discovered “hiding” between the cells of the gut.
The arrangement of cells in the retina reveals how it detects, processes, and relays visual information to the brain.
The male peacock spider performs a spectacular dance to attract a mate—but the female is not always impressed.
A 3D model of the dengue virus reveals a shape like a soccer ball with an outer coating of glycoproteins.
The bill of the buff-tailed sicklebill hummingbird is perfectly shaped to collect nectar from deep within the Centropogon flower.
A unique group of cells in the eye’s retina specifically detects the upward motion of objects, such as a ball thrown in the air or…fireworks.
Gorongosa National Park is rich in diverse species including some found only in and near the park, like this pygmy chameleon.
Weaver ants labor to carry a live land snail back to their nest in Gorongosa National Park.
Zebras on the move in a remote area of Gorongosa National Park in 2006.
Dutch draper Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) built microscopes that allowed him to observe never-before-seen microorganisms, including this rotifer. He called them “animalcules.”
Gorongosa’s spiky pillbug had not been seen for 50 years.
Zebrafish blood is generated from stem cells located in the tail region of fish embryos and later from stem cells located in the kidney of the adult fish.
Pushing the limits of light microscopy to the nanoscale, new technology allows visualization of single proteins in cells.
Reef-building corals depend on brown-colored symbiotic algae for survival.
Two views of a late pupa of an unidentified midge species (family Chironomidae).
This short-tailed fruit bat embryo shows a pattern of bones in its limbs characteristic of all tetrapods: one bone, two bones, lots of bones, digits.
The skull of Zinjanthropus is one of the first early hominid fossils found in Africa and provides essential clues in the story of human evolution.
During the larval stage, the Nemertean worm develops inside a hollow sac from which the juvenile eventually emerges, rupturing the sac and then eating the remains.
A reconstruction of Anchiornis huxleyi, a feathered dinosaur that is part of the ancestral lineage of birds.
Killer T-cells captured in the act of destroying HIV-infected cells.
Using super-resolution microscopes, scientists have uncovered how single protein molecules behave, and the results are astonishing.
One of the largest populations of Nile crocodiles in Africa congregates on the beaches of Lake Urema in Gorongosa National Park.
Fat is made up of spherical plump cells supplied by a network of blood vessels.
A germ-spreading sneeze unleashes a shower of large liquid droplets and a moist gas cloud of smaller ones.
Tracking the flight paths and speeds of fruit flies in a wind tunnel may help design better flying robots.
A freshwater snail infected with thousands of blood flukes will release the disease-causing parasites into the water where they can infect humans.
The Plymouth anole (Anolis lividus) lizard is found only on the Caribbean island of Montserrat—and it is the only anole species living there.
The measles virus can spread easily among people who have no immunity against it, as the current outbreak shows.
As a student of divinity at Cambridge University, Charles Darwin was an enthusiastic collector of beetles
The muscles of the mouse’s heart contract about 600 times per minute, or a billion times in its three-year lifespan.
A tree scorpion illuminated with UV light gives off a blue-green glow.
Adventurer naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews (center) inspects a nest of fossil dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia in 1925.
Many groups of organisms, including some diatoms, are radially symmetrical, and look like circles when seen end on.
When heated to a temperature of around 180°C, corn bursts open with a “pop” in mere hundredths of seconds.
Pikas are small mammals related to rabbits that can only live in cold climates, either at high latitude or high elevations in North America and Asia.
A new technique tracks thousands of cells in the fruit fly (Drosophila) embryo during development.
The surface cells of tadpole embryos have cilia that move the water around them.
The flight patterns of a flock of black vultures are revealed by a novel digital video technique.
A close-up view of the sound-producing structure on the wing of a field cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus).
Warthog mothers look after their young in small family groups.
A smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) patrols the murky waters of the Everglades National Park in Florida.
Leaf-cutter ants practice fungus agriculture to provide the ant colony with a steady source of food.
The early embryonic cells of the sand dollar are caught in the act of synchronized cell division.
Fluorescence microscopy reveals bacterial communities in human dental plaque.
An intricate system of tubes in the kidney filters out waste products from the blood.
Animal mimics evolved markings that make them look either like other animals or inanimate objects.
Dottyback fish change color by altering the proportions of yellow and black pigment cells in their skin to mimic Damselfish.
The variety of colors of cells in a honeycomb comes from pollen collected from different plant species.
An adult female Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), commonly known as the deer tick, awaits passing wildlife.
The cells of the liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha) are packed with chloroplasts.
The front leg of a sand flea stained with colorful dyes.