Monday, 7 May 2012

Speediest Fish on the Planet

These photographs show a high-speed annual feeding frenzy involving the world's fastest ocean animal, the Atlantic sailfish, and their prey, sardines.

Running scared, the hunted prey huddle huddling together in a desperate defensive formation designed to confuse their larger hunters and bring safety in numbers. But with up to three metres of predator bearing down on them at 70mph, escape is almost impossible.

The incident was caught on camera 30 nautical miles off Isla Mujeres on the Mexican coast. Renowned wildlife photographer Eric Cheng, 34, from San Francisco, needed split-second timing to record the action that unfolded at breakneck speeds.

"It was not easy," said Eric. "The sardine ball and sailfish both move very fast, and you can very quickly find yourself in the middle of a bunch of sardines looking for protection... 

"Sometimes, a sailfish would rush in for an attack and then turn away very quickly less than a metre away. It was unnerving but there was never any contact". 

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