National Geographic’s ‘Octopus, Seahorse, Jellyfish’ Invites Us to Marvel at These Deep-Water Dwellers [REVIEW]

Pale Octopus
Common Name: Pale Octopus, Scientific Name: Octopus pallidus, Size: mantle is 4.5 inches long, Notes:  near Sorrento, Victoria, Australia (Photo by David Liittschwager)

Maybe it is because they look like alien beings from another world, but I have always loved watching marine life like octopuses with their stretchy, squishy bodies; dainty seahorses covered with bony plates; and translucent jellyfish that propel themselves through the water by contracting their umbrella-shaped bells. In National Geographic’s forthcoming book, Octopus, Seahorse, Jellyfish, we get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.

National Geographic

Acclaimed nature photographer David Liittschwager has assembled an enthralling collection of stunning underwater images that are guaranteed to both captivate and educate. He has spent decades mastering the craft of capturing these animals on film in all their ethereal beauty, and in this new volume he showcases 200 of his most revealing photos.

His unforgettable images are paired with essays by bestselling science writers Elizabeth Kolbert, Jennifer Holland, and Olivia Hudson. They provide insights into the biology and cognitive abilities of these mysterious denizens of the deep. Here you will see everything from a vividly patterned wonderpus octopus to the comb jellyfish who looks like it is wired with LED lights. The results are simply mesmerizing.

Imagine standing in an aquarium surrounded by a cloud of beautiful, translucent Moon Jellyfish. They may look like little sea ghosts as they float through the water, but they are most definitely alive, even though they lack brains, bones, or even blood. How can this be? You’ll find out in this immersive book.

Those who have ever seen seahorses in real life know that they are quite tiny. But Liittschwager was able to magnify these incredible creatures five times life size, and the results are simply delightful. We get a glimpse of these super tiny seahorses and their ultra-adorable brood. Plus, Holland explains just what good fathers’ male seahorses are. Find out why they put human dads to shame!

If you love our oceans and all the lifeforms that inhabit them, you will want to pre-order this gorgeous book. Octopus, Seahorse, Jellyfish will provide you with a depth of knowledge you will be hard pressed to get anywhere else. But it is Liittschwager’s breathtaking photography that steals the show here. You will want to take your time perusing each page so you can marvel at the delicate, graceful, and even miraculous animals that are featured within. This book is one for the keeper shelf!

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David Liittschwager
David Liittschwager

David Liittschwager has photographed more than a dozen assignments for National Geographic, specializing in portraiture of natural history subjects. He has published six books and is a regular contributor to popular magazines and scientific publications.

Liittschwager’s photography has been exhibited at major museums including American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

He lives in San Francisco. Visit his website at, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Instagram.

By David Liittschwager
256 pp. National Geographic. $35.

Purchase Octopus, Seahorse, Jellyfish direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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