2024 Edition

Magnus Lundgren

Inner Space Hitchhicker

Brown paper nautilus riding a jellyfish-like medusa, Philippines, 2019

Category - Ocean Worlds

Inner Space Hitchhicker

This strange nocturnal creature found at a depth of 15-metres is actually made up of two different species: a female brown paper nautilus (Argonauta hians), from the octopus family, and a hydroid medusa on whose bell the argonaut is surfing. Widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, the brown paper nautilus is known to cling to objects drifting with the ocean currents. Little is known about the life of these pelagic species, but it would appear that the argonaut uses its hosts as a food source or defensive weapon. When I photographed it, it turned the medusa towards me, presumably perceiving me as a potential predator. The Verde Island Passage, in the Philippines, is located in the Coral Triangle hosting the greatest concentration of marine life on the planet, an ideal place to place a spotlight on the ocean world and the need for greater conservation of this exceptional biodiversity. It is my goal to highlight the ocean world and the need for more marine nature conservation.

60 mm f/2.8 Lens – 1/200 sec at f/14 ISO 100