2023 Edition

Franco Banfi

Hunting, 2019

Magdalena Bay, Baja California Peninsula, Mexico

Category - Ocean Worlds

Hunting, 2019

Third fastest fish in the ocean, the striped marlin (Tetrapturus audax) is a species that spends most of its time near the surface. It can weigh up to 180 kg and measure over 4 metres. Here it is about to attack a sardine bait ball (Sardinops sagax) that has previously been encircled to form a compact mass. The predator then has only to put into practice its original hunting technique: using its rostrum it bumps into the fish, knocks them out and then swallows them. I’ve always been fascinated by this elongated fish and wanted to take on the challenge to document some of its unbelievable behaviour. As a photographer I’m captivated by its ability to change the colour patterns of its 12-16 blue vertical bars in just a blink of an eye, since they light up from regular blue to a phosphorescent blue or lavender, through contracting or expanding their chromatophores (special pigmented cells).

8-15 mm f/4-4 Lens - 1/800 sec at f/15 ISO 1000