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Underwater creatures: Photographer Marty Snyderman captures unique behaviors

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Underwater photographer Marty Snyderman’s fascinating body of work brings to life some of the more unique behaviors of the animals of the deep. Snyderman has dedicated his professional life to documenting these creatures — including those that clean other fish, guard fertilized eggs in their mouths, and “fish” for their dinner using a natural worm or fishlike lure incorporating their own body as a fishing rod. In order to find such intriguing creatures, Snyderman, 67, said a lot of discussion must first take place between himself and fishermen, scientists, photographers or even local diving instructors. When photographing his subjects, he tries to stay within one or two feet of them whenever possible, something he admits can be tricky, given the sensitivity of the fish, whales, manta rays and other subjects. (Caters News)

Photography by Marty Snyderman

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A Hawaiian cleaner wrasse provides its cleaning services to a yellowfin goatfish in a reef community off the Big Island in Hawaii. Cleaner species help rid their hosts of ectoparasites, dead tissue, bacteria and fungi. Studies have shown cleaning to play a vital role in keeping many reef ecosystems healthy. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A larval slipper lobster rides atop the bell of a sea jelly at night in the open off the Big Island of Hawaii. If it is lucky and does not end up in the belly of a predator during its larval stage, the lobster has a chance to settle out of the water column onto a reef in an area where it can survive and grow to adulthood. Most don’t make it, but this one might. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A scarlet cleaner shrimp provides its cleaning services to a yellow-edged moray eel (aka yellowmargin moray) in an Indonesian reef community. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

An Atlantic spotted dolphin consumes a small fish it captured in the dead of night along the edge of the Gulf Stream in the Bahamas. These marvelous marine mammals use a combination of a natural form of radar called echolocation, vision, speed, agility, sharp teeth and powerful jaws to catch and subdue their prey. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A group of whitetip reef sharks rest under a ledge on a wall at the small, remote island of Roca Partida, one of four islands that make up Mexico’s Revillagigedo Archipelago. The islands are located between 220 and 400 miles south of the southern end of the nation’s Baja Peninsula in the eastern tropical Pacific. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

Two male Garibaldi, a California state marine fish, are seen in the midst of conflict over turf. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A juvenile warty frogfish feeds on a reef near Dumaguete, Philippines. Frogfishes fish for their dinner by extending and wiggling a natural lure called an esca that is on the end of a rod, or illicium. The motion of the lure is intended to attract prey that consists mostly of small fishes and crustaceans. Frogfishes are slow swimmers, but they can open their mouth so fast that it creates a pressure differential in the water that helps them overwhelm and suck in their prey. Frogfishes are believed to be able to open their mouth faster than any other known animal. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

An oceanic manta ray is approached by a school of adult Clarion angelfish in the waters of the eastern tropical Pacific off of Mexico’s Socorro Island, one of four islands in the Revillagigedo Archipelago. Unlike many angelfishes, adult Clarion angelfish are cleaner fishes. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A male yellowhead jawfish protects the fertilized eggs of its mate by holding them in its mouth until they hatch. This scene was captured over a shallow sandy bottom off the island of Cozumel, Mexico. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A pair of approximately 6-foot-long Chinese sea kraits (aka black-banded sea snakes) mate in the waters of far eastern Indonesia at Manuk island, a small body of land also appropriately known by the name Snake Island. Like sea snakes, sea kraits are highly venomous, but fortunately they are not aggressive toward divers. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A hunting cuttlefish in Indonesia extends its two specialized tentacles that are designed to help capture prey as the cephalopod mollusk prepares to attack. Its prey consists primarily of very small shrimps, crabs and other crustaceans along with some small fishes. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A juvenile golden trevally, a member of the jack family, swims just a few inches in front of a highly carnivorous gray reef shark. Specialists believe the behavior makes the jack safer when it swims in close proximity to sharks, as it only has to keep track of one potential predator. The jack can react extremely fast if the shark tries to catch it, and no other animal is likely to approach the shark in an effort to pursue the colorful jack. The risk involved is too large for the potential reward. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A male ring-tailed cardinalfish mouth-broods the fertilized eggs of its mate. Often referred to as Mr. Moms, male cardinalfishes take on the job of guarding the eggs by holding them in their mouth for the one-to-two-week-long period until the eggs hatch. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A female slingjaw wrasse searches for prey in Micronesian waters off the island of Yap. It is pretty easy to see how this species got its common name. The jaws of slingjaw wrasse are not attached to their skull the way the jaws of humans are. Their jaws are protrusible, meaning they can extend their jaw forward, allowing it to form a tube so that they can use it like a straw to suck in their surprised prey, which consists mostly of a mix of small crustaceans and bony fishes. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A squadron of juvenile golden trevally accompany a whitespotted pufferfish that is feeding in the sand along the shores of Dumaguete, Philippines. The mustache around the fish’s lips reveals that it is actively feeding, an act that has the attention of the hungry jacks. The jacks will dart down from their position to try to grab uncovered prey and leftovers. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A whale shark, the world’s largest fish, bobs up and down at the surface as it gulps down copious quantities of fish eggs in the waters off Isla Mujeres, Mexico, north of Cozumel. While the behavior is seen in many parts of the world where whale sharks occur, in Mexico this vertical feeding orientation is referred to as a <em>botella</em>, Spanish for “bottle,” and it is an obvious reference to the shark’s shape and vertical orientation. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A cuttlefish emerges from its egg on a reef in Dumaguete, Philippines. Cuttlefish young do not receive any parental care going forward, meaning this inch-long hatchling must fend for itself. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A female peacock mantis shrimp holds a clutch of fertilized eggs. An Indo-Pacific species, peacock mantis shrimp reproduce via internal fertilization. Once eggs are laid, the female gathers, guards and cleans the precious cargo while carrying the eggs around on her front appendages until they hatch. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A large male bigfin reef squid (aka longfin reef squid) hovers over a female as she plants her egg casing in a patch of egg casings in Indonesia’s Lembeh Strait. The male is attempting to prevent other males from mating with this female at this vulnerable moment in her life. He is not performing a noble service but is trying to make sure that it is his genes that are passed along to future generations. Confrontations between adult males can be physically intense, and when males fight, other males known as sneakers try to quickly mate with the female as she plants her egg casing. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A pair of white-eyed moray eels peer out of a crevice in a reef community off the coast of Puerto Galera, Philippines. While these morays are predators that readily feed on a variety of fishes, crustaceans and mollusks, they are not aggressive, and they are often misunderstood due to their method of respiration. Unlike most fishes, morays need to open and close their mouths repeatedly to pump oxygen-rich water over their gills. Their fierce-looking behavior gives them a reputation for being much more vicious than they are. The moment was captured in the water off Puerto Galera, Philippines. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A pair of mandarinfish rise off of the reef below into the water column as they spawn. Mating occurs close to sunset if a male, the larger sex, is able to successfully woo a willing female. These marine jewels occur over a wide swath of the Indo-Pacific. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

A California horn shark hatches from its egg casing in the middle of a dark spring night in a reef community off Catalina Island in Southern California. Many sharks are live bearers, but horn sharks are egg layers. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)

Photographer Marty Snyderman. (Photo: Marty Snyderman/Caters News)