Photographer Captures Live Fish Stuck Inside a Jellyfish

Tim Samuel Photography 
Tim Samuel Photography  / Tim Samuel Photography 

If you're sensitive to claustrophobic situations, you not want to check out this photograph of a helpless live fish trapped inside a jellyfish. According to CNN, the rare shot above was taken by ocean photographer Tim Samuel as he was snorkeling off Pass Beach in Byron Bay, Australia.

Samuel, who was accompanied by his friend and collaborator, videographer Franny Plumridge, originally intended to photograph turtles on a nearby coral reef. However, somewhere between the shore and the reef, he encountered the yellow fish. It had been entirely subsumed by its transparent predator, but the fish still managed to navigate its way around the ocean.

"It seemed completely trapped in there, like it had somehow managed to swim inside and then was unable to back itself out," Samuel told CNET. "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 contemplating 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."

One expert says you shouldn't feel too badly for the trapped creature. According to Australian Geographic, Ian Tibbetts, a marine biologist at the Center for Marine Science at the University of Queensland, thinks the fish could be a juvenile trevally, a type of fish that often finds refuge among the stingers of jellyfish.

"It's difficult to tell whether disaster has just struck, or whether the fish is happy to be in there," Tibbetts told Australian Geographic. "Although by the photographer's description of the fish swimming, my guess is that it is probably quite happy to be protected in there."

Samuel followed the fish around for about 20 to 30 minutes, and was able to take a few photos of the rare phenomenon. He shared one of the images on Reddit via Imgur, where forum members had fun imagining what, exactly, the poor fish was thinking while trapped inside its gelatinous companion. Samuel also posted his shots on his personal website and Instagram.

"It is crazy how much attention this little guy is getting," Samuel wrote on Instagram. "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."

[h/t CNN]