These stunning images are on display now as part of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and not only capture some unique moments in nature, but also some of the comedy and tragedy of the animal kingdom.

Three of the lions captured in the striking black and white photograph by Adult Grand Title winner Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols were killed just a few months after he photographed them. Nichols spent nearly six months following the Vumbi pride before creating this purposely archetypal image as they slept on a rocky outcrop in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

In contrast, the first winner of the new category People’s Choice, Marsel van Oosten, evokes nothing but joy with his image of a young Japanese macaque staring intently at a mobile phone in the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan. The mischievous monkey had snatched it off an unsuspecting tourist as she tried to take its photograph.

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You can also see the awe-inspiring photograph taken by Carlos Perez Naval, the Young Grand Title winner. Aged just eight, he has been taking photographs seriously since he was five and captured his first ever double exposure of a scorpion soaking up the setting sun on a flat stone in a rocky area near his home in Torralba de los Sisones, northeast Spain.

He photographed the sun first using a zoom lens and then, as he was swapping over to shoot the scorpion it noticed his movement and flashed its stinger at him, creating the perfect pose.

The acclaimed exhibition, celebrating its 50th year, is a collection of more than 100 images combining the work of talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and leading professionals, all selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity. Entry for the 2015 competition opens on Monday, January 5.

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD, until August 30. Details: