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Oceans of Plenty

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In One End . . .
Photograph by David Doubilet

Off South Africa’s southwest coast, a rocksucker lies in wait, eyeing a nearby limpet (not visible). Suddenly, prompted by a wobble of the limpet’s shell, this puffy-cheeked stalker will leap from its bed of urchins, clamp big teeth over its prey, throw back its head, and swallow it whole. An x-ray of the above specimen would likely reveal a pile of shells neatly stacked in the stomach, explains Charlie Griffiths, a University of Cape Town marine biologist and rocksucker admirer. From there, he says, “the shells are either regurgitated or passed through the large, flabby anus.” What a fish!

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F4
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia
Lens: 60mm Micro Nikkor AF 2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/20 @ f/16
Weather Conditions: Wet and at 50 feet (15 meters)
Time of Day: 11 a.m.
Lighting Techniques:  Two C&C strobes, Nexus underwater housing

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