Story Behind the Shot – Conger and Sponge

Conger Eel

One of the cool things about spending a lot of time photographing in a place like Lembeh Strait is the fact you can bump into just about anything at any time. One of the stranger creatures I ran into happened to be when I was actually shooting wide angle and it was the perfect lens for the situation. When I first looked at the animal I thought it was a snake eel (it actually could be!) but after much looking around in fish books I actually think it’s a bigeye conger eel (Ariosoma anagoides) However, it’s not the eel itself that is of interest in this photo but rather the environment that the eel has chosen to live in. As is obvious, the eel is surrounded by dozens of tubular sponges in an otherwise rather barren stretch of sand and it blends in almost perfectly! I was very happy at this point in time to have brought my wide angle lens as only a wide angle photography could truly show the environment that the eel was living in. Now the question that immediately came to my mind when I saw the situation was: “Did the eel know that the sponges were similar in shape to it? Or was it just a fluke of positioning?” And that is the question that I ask the readers of this blog, what do you think? Was it a case of perfect planning by a cunning and intelligent animal or purely coincidence?  Let us know in the comments

Aquatica D90, Sea and Sea Strobes, 10.5mm lens with 2xTC, f13, 1/13

Posted in Story Behind the Shot, Travel, UW Photo Workshops.

One Comment

  1. I would bet on the the intelligence of the eel rather than happenstance. So many creatures are so much more intelligent than humans give them credit for. We measure everything by hat we know and by our senses and capabilities. This way we limit our ability to truly understand creatures we are no like us. Humans think our intelligence is the best; so who is destroying the environment and the world we all share? Nope, not dumb luck – smart eel!

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