These underwater images show the bizarre behaviour of creatures in the deep sea.

Marty Snyderman has dedicated his professional life to documenting the creatures.

He’s snapped those that clean other fish , guard fertilized eggs in their mouths, and ‘fish’ for their dinner using a natural worm or fish-like lure on the end of a spine that is like a fishing rod.

In order to find such intriguing creatures, Marty, 67, said, a lot of discussion must first take place – be it between himself and fishermen, scientists, photographers, or even local diving instructors.

When shooting his works, the photographer aims to move within one or two feet of the subject whenever possible – something he admits can be tricky, given the sensitivity of the fish, whales, manta rays and other subjects.

A group of whitetip reef sharks rest under a ledge on a wall at the small, remote island of Roca Partida

The garibaldi, the species pictured here, is the California state marine fish

A large male bigfin reef squid hovering over a female as she plants her egg casing in a patch of egg casings

Marty, from Solana Beach, California, USA, said: “Being in the ocean, it’s kind of like playing a chess game with animals.

“You hope you recognize them… But then how do you get close enough to capture that?

“That’s a great challenge.”

A juvenile golden trevally, a member of the jack family, swimming just a few inches in front of a highly carnivorous gray reef shark

A pair of mandarinfish rise off of the reef below into the water column as they spawn

Marty’s interest in marine life stems from a fishing trip when he was 10, where he witnessed a group of fishermen kill a shark.

From that uncomfortable moment, Marty said, he looked to experience – and later document – the more beautiful, positive and fascinating side of underwater life.

A female peacock mantis shrimp holds a clutch of fertilized eggs

An oceanic manta ray being approached by a school of adult Clarion angelfish

After first working as a diving instructor in San Diego in the 1970s, his passion for the water then evolved towards taking images of sea creatures, too.

Marty said: “I’m an animal geek more than a photographer.

“As people get to being adults, we stop looking at bugs, butterflies, and birds, but I stuck down in the dirt and kept doing it.

“I was intrigued by it all – the mystery of it.

“What’s down in the ocean is what’s in my blood.”



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