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Aussie snorkeler snaps photo of a fish inside a jellyfish

An Australian photographer caught a rare shot of a fish swimming while inside a jellyfish. 

An Australian photographer caught a rare shot of a fish captured inside a jellyfish.

Tim Samuel, a self-described "ocean obsessed" photography aficionado was snorkeling with videographer Franny Plumridge in Byron Bay, Australia, when he saw a fish swimming while completely encased within a translucent jellyfish.

"He was stuck in there, but controlled where the jellyfish was moving," he wrote when he posted the photo on Imgur.

"Whenever the conditions are good I try to get into the ocean as much as possible," Mr. Samuel told Mashable Australia. "There are lots of turtles around Byron Bay, so this particular day I was hoping to find some turtles to swim with and take photos of." 

Once he spotted the fish-jellyfish duo, Samuel followed it for nearly half an hour, working to capture the small and wiggling object in sharp focus.

He posted the photos to his website and Instagram account.

Never before, in his five years as a photographer or in his other career as a surf instructor, had Samuel seen anything like this, he said. "I knew I had stumbled upon something pretty special, but I didn't realize no one had photographed this behavior before," he said.

Samuel said the fish seemed completely trapped inside the jellyfish.

"It would try to swim in a straight line but the jellyfish would knock it off course, would send it in little circles or loops," he said.

"I definitely thought about setting it free, but in the end decided to just let nature run its course," he added.

Ian Tibbetts, a marine biologist at the University of Queensland, said the jellyfish looks like a stinging type called cubomedusan, while the fish looks as if it could be a juvenile trevally, a species which often uses jellyfish stingers for protection and shelter. But this situation may have gone awry for the little fish, Dr. Tibbetts suggested.

"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."

When Samuel shared the photo on Reddit via Imgur, viewers shared their guesses as to what the fish was feeling.

"He does not look enthused by his situation," wrote one person.

Another wrote, "This fish may be dead, and is definitely being digested (alive or not)."

Most agreed the fish was thinking, "Help me!"

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