Every beachgoer has seen them, avoided them in fear, and dismissed them as a nuisance. But what we unaware humans fail to realize is that these creatures are more incredible than we ever could have imagined. No form of manmade art can compare to the intricate, complex, and vibrant patterns seen in these portraits. These species are more ‘supranatural’ than we realize, and when viewed at a 1:1 ratio and mirrored, we finally can see how closely related they are to the universe around us. They are called zooids, a colonial animal that can only survive when connected with other zooids of a different nature.

These particular zooids, captured by fine-art macro photographer, Aaron Ansarov, are part of a series of four unique zooids called the dactylozooids (the hunters), gastrozooids (the eaters), gonozooids (the reproducers), and the pneumatophores (the sailors). Each has its individual personality, but collectively exist as a single being with a shared goal of survival. Together, they are more commonly known as the Portuguese Man o’ War.

Not much is known about these creatures, other than the fact that they are responsible each year for more than 10,000 documented stings worldwide. But now, for the first time ever, Aaron Ansarov has put faces to these hidden creatures. As if looking through a special lens into a different dimension, Aaron has given them personalities that seems to shift with every viewer. Through Aaron’s masterful use of light, technique, and ability to go beyond the obvious, we are able to see patterns come together to create a fine-art collection of images entitled, Zooids: Faces of Tiny Warriors—beautiful creatures seeking their place in the world.