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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The one that didn't get away: Marlin spears himself a sardine supper

By Craig Mackenzie

Speared: Just when one of the fish thought he had got away, a striped marlin has it for breakfast

Life can be particularly unfair if you are a sardine. You are breakfast, lunch and fish supper for the ocean's predators.

But it doesn't happen very often that three sea giants are hungry for a little grub at the same time and same place. Sadly, few of the tiddlers lived to tell the tail.

When a Bryde whale circled, the fish formed a sphere known as a bait ball in a desperate defence tactic. It didn't work.

Feeding time: No escape for dozens of sardines as they are swallowed up by a Bryde whale off Baja, California

Look behind you: A shoal of sardines dodge the whale but two sea lions swoop and a striped marlin with a razor bill lurks

Razor sharp bill: The striped marlin gets ready to strike the defenceless sardines after they survived the attack from a whale

The whale opened its huge mouth and swallowed scores of the fish. Some escaped and believed the danger was over...until two sea lions appeared and hoovered up scores more.

One fish thought he had escaped the carnage, but a lurking striped Marlin speared him with a deft move and the sardine was toast.

These stunning pictures were captured by photographer Doug Perrine under a fishing boat off Baja, California, Mexico, who was struck by a whale twice as he took the pictures.



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