More than 70 percent of our planet is covered with water, yet the oceans are still the most mysterious parts of the world. Earlier this year, deep-sea photographer and diver Yoji Ookata discovered something he had never seen in his 50 years documenting the underwater world off the coast of Japan: a beautiful circular structure on the sand, about 80 feet below sea level that was so accurately carved that it looks like a deep-sea crop circle.
The circular pattern of rippling sand is 6 feet in diameter and Ookata, impressed with his discovery, took a NHK TV crew to document its intricate design. They soon found out that a small puffer fish was responsible for the design. The fish work tirelessly, day and night, creating this underwater work of art to attract a female fish to deposit her eggs in the protected center. The eggs rest in the center of the circle, shielded from the ocean currents by the ridges and valleys, so the more intricate the design is, the more females it is bound to attract.
Photo © Yoji Ookata and NHK