Bizarre photo of a fish in a jellyfish

By AG Staff Writer 7 June 2016
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Byron Bay photographer Tim Samuel didn’t quite know what he was seeing when he snapped this incredible image of a fish in a very bizarre predicament – seemingly trapped inside a jellyfish.

IF FISH CAN be said to have facial expressions, then the look on this little one’s face would certainly appear to be saying something along the lines of: “oh dear, how did I get here?”

Or, as one commenter on the social media platform Reddit (where this image was originally shared) suggested: “Honey, you probably won’t believe this, but I’m stuck in a jellyfish.”

fish in jellyfish

No, this isn’t a strange new species. (Image: Tim Samuel).

The bizarre occurence was captured in the waters off Byron Bay, New South Wales, by photographer Tim Samuel. “I have never seen anything like it,” said Tim, who was snorkelling with local videographer Franny Plumridge (pictured in the top image) at the time.

“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 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.”

Associate Professor Ian Tibbetts, a fish biologist at the Centre for Marine Science at the University of Queensland, says that while it’s difficult to tell from photos alone, the fish looks like it could be a juvenile trevally, which are known to seek shelter among the stingers of certain jellyfish. In this case, the situation may have taken a surprise turn for the small fish, which ended up inside the jellyfish.

“It’s difficult to tell whether disaster has just struck, or whether the fish is happy to be in there,” says Ian, who adds that the jellyfish looks like a type of stinging jellyfish called a cubomedusan.

“Although by the photographer’s description of the fish swimming, my guess is that it is probably quite happy to be protected in there,” Ian added.