This spectacular photograph of mating cuttlefish is one of 18 underwater scenes among the 100 photographs that have made the final cut in the 52nd Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
All the photographs will go on show in London in October at the Natural History Museum, which runs the annual competition.
This year’s event attracted the biggest entry to date, says the museum, with almost 50,000 images submitted by professionals and amateurs from 95 countries. Judged by a panel of international experts, the winning images were selected for their “creativity, originality and technical excellence”.
Collective Courtship by Australian photographer Scott Portelli was taken as thousands of giant cuttlefish gather in winter in the shallow waters of South Australia’s Upper Spencer Gulf for their once-in-a-lifetime spawning.
Rivalry among the world’s largest cuttlefish is fierce, as males outnumber females by up to 11 to one. The preoccupied cuttlefish (the male on the right) ignored Portelli, allowing him to get close.
A line of suitors was poised in the background, waiting for a chance to mate with the female. The photographer’s hours in the cold water were finally rewarded when the onlookers momentarily faced the same way.
This and the other 99 images will later go out on an international tour spanning six continents.
Entry to the NHMâexhibition, which runs from 21 October until 10 September next year in the East Pavillion Gallery, costs £12 (children and concessions from £7.50). Find out more here.
Divernet – The Biggest Online Resource for Scuba Divers