2024 Edition

Nataya Chonecadeedumrongkul

Barrel Sponge Symphony Orchestra

Hinge-beak shrimps in a barrel sponge, Thailand, 2022

Category - Ocean Worlds

Barrel Sponge Symphony Orchestra

The hingebeak shrimp (Rhynchocinetes durbanensis) is usually found in colonies. The largest one I have ever seen was at Koh Haa, in the southern Andaman Sea, Thailand, in the hollow of a barrel sponge (Xestospongia testudinaria). These shrimps, about 9 centimetres long with eye-catching red and white stripes, exhibit a dance-like movement, moving back and forth abruptly, with their beaks pointing up. I came across this very active colony at almost twilight. The shrimp in the foreground seemed to lead the group like a conductor leading a symphony. In underwater photography, we are often on the lookout for rare subjects to capture, atypical scenes or incredible animal stories to convey. That's what this hingebeak shrimps’ performance inspired in me: a discovery that reminds us just how extraordinary nature really is.


60mm f/2.8 + MWL-1 - 1/50 sec at ISO 800