Biology student and photographer Daniel Stoupin takes animals — some of them so tiny they can't be detected with the naked eye — and fires up his microscopes so that they get the extreme close-up they deserve.

In Stoupin's shots, the most mundane critters become a squirming menagerie of phantasmagoric wonder. Behold mayfly larvae, miniature crustaceans, rotifers, and water fleas as Lovecraftian god-beasts. Stoupin focuses his lens on animals that are eensy-weensy albeit essential to the food chain. As he explains in the synopsis of his above film Microscopic Worlds:

We are surrounded with various living creatures, but how often do we notice the tiniest ones and how small can they be? Such common but inconspicuous organisms like water fleas, seed shrimps, and hydras are less than a centimeter (0.4 inches) in size but they are very important components of the freshwater ecosystems.

You can see Stoupin's work (and purchase prints) at his Microworlds photography site. His blog also has plenty of shots and rundowns of shooting such tiny subjects. His photos of the Polyphemus pediculus water flea are particularly ethereal.

Under a microscope, the smallest animals on Earth become beautiful nightmare fuel

Under a microscope, the smallest animals on Earth become beautiful nightmare fuel

Under a microscope, the smallest animals on Earth become beautiful nightmare fuel

Under a microscope, the smallest animals on Earth become beautiful nightmare fuel

Under a microscope, the smallest animals on Earth become beautiful nightmare fuel

Via MeFi. Splash photo: mayfly larva by Daniel Stoupin.