32 award-winning underwater photos reveal a troupe of tiny seahorses, a hot-pink sea slug, and fish living in beer bottles
- The Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition highlights the best underwater photography taken each year.
- The winning images showcase a team of baby seahorses, small stingrays hitching a ride on a larger ray, and sea creatures trying (and sometimes failing) to live with garbage.
- Here are 32 of our favorite images from the contest.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Most of the world is water, and we humans miss out on a lot of the action that happens there.Luckily, photographers across the globe dive with their cameras to document the creatures we don't get to see. The Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition has recognized their best work for the last eight years.Advertisement
The most recent round of awards showcase the beauty and drama of marine life, from playful sea lions to fish that seek shelter in the arms of jellyfish.
The contest's judges reviewed thousands of images from 78 countries. They picked a first-place photo for each of the competition's 16 categories, which award images that showcase various types of creatures or utilize certain photography techniques. The winning images reveal a twig full of baby seahorses, some masters of camouflage caught red-handed, and creatures trying (and sometimes failing) to live with garbage. Many of the runner-up images are just as stunning or bizarre, though.Here are the 16 winning photos along with 16 of our other favorites from the contest.
A photo of a crab-eater seal diving beneath Antarctic ice won Best of Show.
Other winning photos showed smaller life forms, like these clownfish eggs.Advertisement
A rare shot of pink whip rays riding on a small-eyed ray near Queensland, Australia won the Marine Life Behavior category.
In the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, another winning photo captured a different pair of fish friends: a grouper and a cleaner wrasse.Advertisement
Six rowdy seahorse babies pointed their faces in the same direction just long enough for novice photographer Jules Casey to snap a shot.
Nudibranchs, a vast group of marine mollusks sometimes called sea slugs, get their own contest category.Advertisement
Coral reefs, like the Indonesian one shown here, offer endless opportunities for underwater photographers.
This pair of lemon goby parents watched over eggs that they'd laid on a piece of discarded glass.Advertisement
But garbage is generally harmful to marine life. The winner of a new category, Conservation, was this haunting image of a long-dead sea turtle tangled in fishing line.
Another new category, Blackwater, encouraged photographers to go diving at night. That's when this young snaketooth fish made an appearance.Advertisement
This yellow crested weedfish hid in the kelp at Shelly Beach, Australia. Snapping this expert camouflager required patience.
Seahorses were popular photo subjects.Advertisement
This seahorse photo won first place in the Portraits category.
Seahorses also took the spotlight in the contest's Underwater Art category.Advertisement
Ribboned sweetlips, meanwhile, seemed to be a popular school to capture on camera.
Photographer Nicholas More said a shot of this school of ribboned sweetlips was "at the top" of his wish list.Advertisement
Though the following images didn't win first place in any category, they're just as captivating and surprising.
Photographer Pedro Carillo Montero caught these young sea lions playing under a rock ledge. In this image, he wrote, they almost look like they're singing.Advertisement
Predators on the prowl made for awe-inspiring images. Photographer Emry Oxford saw this crocodile in Cuba.
Gannets plunge arrow-like into the sea to catch fish.Advertisement
Photographer Dave Johnson took a picture of this banded sea snake as it rested alone in the sand in Indonesia's Lembeh Strait.
Devil rays in the Sea of Cortez move in large groups, flapping their fins like birds' wings.Advertisement
This curious leopard shark kept approaching photographer Jake Wilton. The species is rarely aggressive toward humans.
Photographer Fabien Martinazzo captured this pelagia noctiluca jellyfish on camera as it made a rippling trail through the water.Advertisement
This banded driftfish sought shelter in the tentacles of an amakusa jellyfish.
Two yellow gobies found shelter in an old bottle on the sea floor.Advertisement
Another fish, a blenny, took a similar approach, fitting perfectly inside empty beer bottles on a sunken ship.
The peacock mantis shrimp has notoriously complex eyes, with 16 color receptors. Humans, by comparison, have three.Advertisement
Photographer Hakan Basar caught this flamboyant cuttlefish at a colorful moment.
Photographer Fabien Martinazzo is convinced that this tompot blenny saw its reflection in his camera lens.Advertisement
Even ocean worms can be colorful. Like humans, this alciopid worm has eyeballs with an iris and a cornea.
Off this island in French Polynesia, a completely different world swims just below the surface.Advertisement
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