A photo of an unlucky fish trapped inside a jellyfish has been captured by an Australian photographer. The image gained fame after DiscoverOcean reposted it recently but ocean photographer Tim Samuel spotted the rare sighting last December while freediving in Byron Bay, off the east coast of Australia.
Samuel says the fish was still alive and was trying to escape. Apparently, the fish was able to control the jellyfish’s movement, propelling the jellyfish forward although there were a few times when the fish was thrown off-balance and swam around in circles.
“The jellyfish threw it off-balance though, and they would wobble around, and sometimes get stuck doing circles,” Samuel told CNET. “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.”
The fish species has been identified as the juvenile trevally. Australian Geographic states that the jellyfish looks like a type of stinging jellyfish known as cubomedusan, a group to which the box jellyfish belongs to.
Ian Tibbetts, an associate professor and a fish biologist at the Center for Marine Science at the University of Queensland, told Australian Geographic that these species are known to take shelter among certain species of jellyfish. It is unclear whether the fish was stuck or was happy to be inside but based on Samuel’s description, Tibbetts thinks that it was very happy to be protected inside.
The photo was posted on Samuel’s Instagram account in December. A second image with dive partner Franny Plumridge was published two weeks later. The images became viral when DiscoverOcean reposted Samuel’s photos on its Instagram account. The ocean photographer is now overwhelmed by the attention.
“We knew we had found something special, but had no idea just how unique and rare this sighting was,” says Samuel on his Instagram post. “I’m completely blown away by all the attention it is getting from all over the world.”