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Images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest

U.S. photographer Michael Nichols was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 for his image of lazing lions. The prestigious award draws almost 42,000 entries from 96 countries and this year’s 100 winners were announced Tuesday at a gala at the Natural History Museum in London. The top images will be part of an exhibit at the museum from Oct. 24 to Aug. 30, 2015, and embark an international tour.

A male frog will grasp a female frog in a tight embrace, known as amplexus, often for days, until she has laid her eggs. Anton Lilja set out to photograph the mating spectacle in a flooded gravel pit near his home in Vasterbotten, Sweden. Experimenting with his flash, he achieved the effect he wanted just as a pair of frogs in amplexus popped up in front of the camera. Photo by Anton Lilja

Rodrigo Wyssmann came upon a grim sight off Magdalena Bay on the Pacific coast of Baja California, Mexico, after noticing a fisherman’s buoy had been dragged below the surface. A majestic young white shark was hanging motionless, with its left jaw completely out of place due to the force it used to battle a hook before drowning to death. Photo by Rodrigo Friscione Wyssmann

While on a skiing holiday in northern Sweden, Edwin Sahlin discovered that Siberian jays like cheese and sausage. To capture this photo, Edwin dug a pit in the snow deep enough to climb into. He scattered titbits of food around the edge and then waited. To his delight, the jays flew right over him, allowing him to photograph them from below. Photo by Edwin Sahlin

Michael Nichols was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014. Nichols set out to create an image that would express a picture of a time past, before lions were under such threat. In this photo, five females of the Vumbi pride lie at rest with their cubs on a rocky outcrop in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Shortly before he took the shot, they had attacked and driven off one of the two pride males. He photographed the lions in infrared which he says 'turns the moment into something primal, biblical almost’. He’d been following them for nearly six months. Photo by Michael Nichols

Relaxing by the hotel at the end of a family holiday in Costa Rica, Will Jenkins was planning on a day hanging out by the pool and surfing – that was until a green iguana jumped down from the hotel roof. The metre-long lizard made its way to the top of a rock when the timing was perfect to capture a portrait. Photo by Will Jenkins

Carlos Perez Naval was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 for his sun-bathing scorpion. Carlos found the yellow scorpion basking on a flat stone in a rocky area near his home in Torralba de los Sisones in northeast Spain. The late afternoon sun was casting such a lovely glow over the scene that Carlos decided to experiment with a double exposure so he could include the sun. Photo by Carlos Perez Naval

While night-diving in deep water off the coast of Tahiti, Fabien Michenet became fascinated by a juvenile sharpear enope squid. Only three centimetres in length, the tiny squid was floating motionless about 20 metres below the surface. Knowing it would be sensitive to light and movement, Fabien gradually manoeuvred in front of it, trying to hang as motionless as his subject. He finally triggered the strobes and took the squid’s portrait before it disappeared into the deep. Photo by Fabien Michenet

When the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex began erupting, Francisco Negroni travelled to Puyehue National Park in southern Chile, anticipating a spectacular light show. But what he witnessed was more like an apocalypse. From his viewpoint – a hill quite a distance to the west of the volcano – he watched flashes of lightning lacerate the sky. Volcanic lightning is a rare, short‑lived phenomenon. Photo by Francisco Negroni

A teenager from a village in southern Tunisia offers to sell a three-month-old fennec fox, one of a litter of pups dug out of their den in the Sahara Desert. Catching or killing wild fennec foxes is illegal in Tunisia. Bruno D'Amicis discovered widespread exploitation of the foxes for commercial trade and traditional medicine. Photo by Bruno D'Amicis

The astonishing sword-billed hummingbird is the only bird with a bill longer than its body. Its 11-centimetre bill is designed to reach nectar at the base of equally long tube-shaped flowers, but Jan van der Greef discovered that it can have another use. To get to bird-feeders, one particular hummingbird had to cross the path of a fiercely territorial collared inca. Jan captured the confrontation in a colourful moment. Photo by Jan van der Greef

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