Marine life photographer Tim Samuel has captured the extraordinary moment a fish became trapped inside a jellyfish while free-driving in Australia.
The rare image was shot in Byron Bay and went viral after Samuel shared the photo on Instagram and it was reposted by the @discoverocean account.
Writing on Instagram, he said: “I found this fish trapped inside a Jellyfish while freediving in Byron Bay. He was trapped in there but controlled where the Jellyfish was moving.”
Captioning another photo, he wrote: “It is crazy how much attention this little guy is getting. When @franny.plumridge and I stumbled upon it we knew we had found something special, but had no idea just how unique and rare this sighting was. I’m completely blown away by all the attention it is getting from all over the world.”
T R A P P E D – Woke up this morning to my phone going crazy due to one my photos being reposted by @discoverocean. Here’s another photo from that day. I found this fish trapped inside a Jellyfish while freediving in Byron Bay. He was trapped in there but controlled where the Jellyfish was moving. Prints are available through my website – link in bio
The odd encounter occurred in December at The Pass.
Samuel said: “It was an incredible surprise to find, I have never seen anything like it. It seemed completely trapped in there, like it had somehow managed to swim inside and then was unable to back itself out. The fish was able to propel the jellyfish forward and controlled its movement to an extent, the jellyfish threw it off balance though and they would wobble around, and sometimes get stuck doing circles.
“I contemplated freeing the fish as I felt bad for it, but in the end decided to just let nature run its course, which was a difficult decision for me to make.”
Speaking to Australian Geographic, Associate Professor Ian Tibbetts at the Centre for Marine Science at the University of Queensland, said the jellyfish looks like a type of stinging jellyfish called a cubomedusan.
“It’s difficult to tell whether disaster has just struck, or whether the fish is happy to be in there,” he said.
“Although by the photographer’s description of the fish swimming, my guess is that it is probably quite happy to be protected in there.”