Editor's note: This series originally appeared on WetPixel Full Frame, and has been reposted with permission.

Less than ten percent of baby fish have ever been described by science. And that is where biologist Frank Baensch comes in. He describes himself as a fish culturist, but when he isn't busy hatching fish, he's off pursuing his passion: photographing their larvae. From tiny red pandas to nursing rhinos, we certainly post our fair share of animal youngsters on the Earth Touch site, but Baensch isn't interested in the 'fuzzy wuzzies' of the animal kingdom.

"I love to photograph [baby fish] because they have a natural beauty that is rarely presented," he explains. "Fish larvae are fascinating animals. They are enormously diverse and rarely seen underwater."

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Scorpionfish Image: Frank Baensch

It's plain to see that the fish and invertebrates in Baensch's photos start out small, but just how small may surprise you. At just 2-4 millimetres long, upon hatching most of these creatures can only really be seen through a microscope. (For perspective, a typical grain of rice is about 9mm long.) They're born pretty helpless, incapable of feeding or swimming against the current. As they mature, they learn to swim, hunt and avoid predators.

"The subjects [of these photos] were collected on the surface at night off a boat in Papua New Guinea," recalls Baensch. "When larva are close to transitioning into juveniles they typically use the sun, currents and the sounds and smells of [coral] reefs to find their new home. Their final approach is made at night because the reef is home to many predators that specialise in hunting larvae." Each individual was photographed and then quickly released back into the sea, but not before Baensch and his team could collect some useful data. The photographs are strikingly beautiful, but more importantly, they will help scientists understand the reproductive patterns, habitat requirements and development of marine fishes for years to come!

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Cardinal fish. Image: Frank Baensch
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Eel (thought to be a garden eel) Image: Frank Baensch
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Lefteye flounder. Image: Frank Baensch
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Flying fish. Image: Frank Baensch
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Mantis shrimp. Image: Frank Baensch
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Stargazer. Image: Frank Baensch
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Pufferfish. Image: Frank Baensch
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Squid. Image: Frank Baensch
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Goatfish. Image: Frank Baensch
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Pipefish. Image: Frank Baensch
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Octopus. Image: Frank Baensch

For more amazing photos and facts about the larva swimming through our oceans check out Baensch's blog here!