WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2018

Behaviours Invertebrates

Justin Gilligan, Australia

Dinner for Two

Justin spotted these hungry blue dragons closing in on a by-the-wind sailor in a rock pool, and wanted to capture this ‘different layer of life in the ocean’. He used an underwater torch to light his shot from beneath, and framed their elaborate forms from above, against a galaxy of reflective particles.

Blue dragons are small sea slugs that float upside down buoyed by air bubbles in their stomachs. They feed on cnidarians, a group of marine animals that includes jellyfish and this by-the-wind sailor. Storing stinging cells from their prey in finger-like protrusions, the blue dragons use this venom to defend themselves against predators.

Technical specification

Nikon D810 + 60mm f2.8 lens; 1/320 sec at f10; ISO 2000; Scubapro flashlight


Yabbara Beach near Narooma, New South Wales, Australia: latitude -36.167297, longitude 150.13466 Yabbara Beach near Narooma, New South Wales, Australia: latitude -36.167297, longitude 150.13466

Yabbara Beach near Narooma, New South Wales, Australia

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Justin Gilligan

Justin Gilligan, Australia

Justin works as a freelance photojournalist for a range of nature and travel magazines. He has worked on numerous projects within Australia's Commonwealth and state fisheries and has been contracted to conduct field research in some of the country's most spectacular marine environments. More recently his photojournalism efforts have focused on Australia's temperate reef systems.

  • Hook, line and sinking
  • Crab surprise