Have you ever seen a fish swim inside a jellyfish and start driving it around as if it were test driving a new car?
Well, it’s pretty rare, but photographer Tim Samuel of Byron Bay, Australia, captured the perfect shot at the perfect time, when a small fish swam inside a jelly and started controlling its movements.
Tim posted the above shot on his Instagram page back in December.
“I found a fish inside a jellyfish! He was trapped in there, but controlled where the jellyfish was moving,” he wrote.
Saturday morning Tim learned his shot had been shared by Discover Ocean on its Instagram page and said he woke up to his “phone going crazy” over the exposure his photo has been getting.
Tim shared a video on Wednesday of the same phenomenon as seen by someone else who had emailed it to him.
“[Pal Franny Plumridge] and I were starting to think we were the only ones to witness anything like my Fish Trapped in a Jellyfish photo. That was until this afternoon when I received a very exciting email “I too have witnessed this rare phenomenon.
“I captured it on video while snorkeling at Double Reef beach in Guam in 2013. Over the course of several minutes I watched the fish exit the Jellyfish, swim back inside the Jellyfish, and apparently steer the Jellyfish at will, and repeat.
“I researched the unusual behavior when I first encountered it, however could not find anything on the internet to explain the behavior. Perhaps others will communicate their experiences and a collaborative understanding of this behavior will immerge (sic)” – words and video from Brent Collins.”
National Geographic spoke with two scientists to find out what was going on in the photo. One, University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Rob Condon, said that the jelly was “likely providing key ecosystem services that benefit the fish species”.
Jellyfish taxonomist Lisa-Ann Gershwin added that if the fish was harming the jelly, it would have “deteriorated”. She added that it was “totally normal” for fish to do this and that there would be visible proof as it would have lost its tentacles.
Want a print? They’re available through Tim’s website.