The Jel­ly­fish Jockey

An­thony Ber­be­rian, France

Amateur Photographer - - Wildlife Photographer Of The Year -

Win­ner 2017, Un­der­wa­ter

In open ocean far off Tahiti, An­thony reg­u­larly dives at night in wa­ter more than 2km (1m) deep. His aim is to pho­to­graph tiny deep-sea crea­tures that mi­grate to the sur­face at night to feed on plank­ton. This lob­ster larva (on top), just 1.2cm (1/2in) across, with spiny legs, a flat­tened, trans­par­ent body and eyes on stalks, was at a stage when its form is called a phyl­lo­soma. Its legs gripped the dome of a mauve stinger jel­ly­fish. They were drift­ing in the cur­rent, the phyl­lo­soma sav­ing en­ergy and pos­si­bly gain­ing pro­tec­tion from preda­tors de­terred by the jelly’s stings, its own hard shell prob­a­bly pro­tect­ing it from stings. The phyl­lo­soma seemed able to steer the jelly, turn­ing it around at speed. The odd thing about the jelly was that it had few ten­ta­cles left, sug­gest­ing that the hitch­hiker was us­ing it as a source of snacks. A phyl­lo­soma’s di­ges­tion coats jel­ly­fish sting­ing cells with a mem­brane that stops the stings pen­e­trat­ing its gut. In sev­eral hun­dred night dives, An­thony met only a few lob­ster lar­vae, and it took many shots of the jel­ly­fish jockey to get a shot he was happy with of a crea­ture rarely ob­served alive in its nat­u­ral sur­round­ings. Nikon D810, 60mm f/2.8, 1/250sec at f/22 (-0.3 e/v), ISO 64, Nau­ti­cam hous­ing + Nau­ti­cam SMC-1 su­per-macro con­verter; Inon Z-240 strobes

the Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­pher of the year 2017 ex­hi­bi­tion opens on 20 oc­to­ber and runs un­til spring 2018. to book tick­ets, visit Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­pher of the year is de­vel­oped and pro­duced by the nat­u­ral his­tory Mu­seum, lon­don

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